Only 4 Turkish provinces qualify to 'normalize' on Health Ministry scale

Only four provinces in southeastern Turkey qualify to start COVID-19 normalization, according to an official points system the Health Ministry created. Hakkari, Şırnak, Muş and Batman were the only cities with few enough cases in the past seven days to allow them to start normalization, according to Feb. 22 data from the ministry.

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The scarcely populated southeastern settlements of Hakkari, Şırnak, Muş, and Batman were the only four among the 81 provinces in Turkey that scored low enough on the Health Ministry's risk scale for normalization. 

Provinces with less than 10 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people will be considered low risk, those between 11 and 35 cases medium risk, 36 and 100 high risk and the rest very high risk, according to the state normalization plan.

The only four provinces that were low risk according to Feb. 22 data were  Hakkari with 3.21 cases per 100,000 people, Şırnak with 3.91 cases, Muş with 8.51 cases and Batman with 8.71 cases.

Provinces that qualify to normalize will receive instructions via their provincial health directorate, the ministry said, although 12 provinces still remain in the "high-risk category."

The first step in normalization will be restarting in-person education, followed by in-person services and the removal of weekend curfews.