Turkey reports under 10,000 new COVID-19 cases for first time since March

Turkey on May 20 reported less than 10,000 new COVID-19 daily cases for the first time since March 1, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said during a press conference. Meanwhile, BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin joined the press conference virtually and confirmed to Koca that Turkey will have received a total of 120 million vaccine doses by the end of September.

People wander at Salacak Coast in Istanbul's Üsküdar district on May 17.

Duvar English

Turkey on May 20 registered 9,385 new COVID-19 infections and 204 virus-related deaths, according to the Health Ministry data. This is the first time since March 1 that daily cases dropped below 10,000 in the country. 

The data was released as Health Minister Fahrettin Koca held a press conference following a meeting of the country's Scientific Committee.

The press conference saw the virtual participation of Uğur Şahin who promised to provide Turkey a total of 120 million doses of vaccine by the end of 2021.

Şahin is the CEO and his wife Özlem Türeci the chief medical officer of BioNTech, the company that created the vaccine in partnership with Pfizer.

“I am very happy because we would like to bring Turkey 30 million doses until the end of June, and complete the total of 120 million doses with supplies to be brought in July, August and September,” Şahin said.

"We will work day and night to send vaccines to Turkey on time," he added.

Koca also invited Şahin to Turkey in June to “get his support for the vaccination campaign.”

In response, Şahin said that he and Türeci have plans to come to Turkey in the first two weeks of June, which is when he said they can hold a “face-to-face meeting” with Koca.

“We have several plans. In Turkey, we would like to produce vaccines, undertake R&D and also conduct clinical trials,” he said.

Earlier on May 20, BioNTech said in a statement that Turkey finalized a deal to buy 60 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with an option for an additional 30 million doses.

“This second supply agreement brings the total number of doses to be supplied to Turkey to up to 120 million, all of which will be delivered in 2021,” the company said.

On Dec. 25, 2020, BioNTech and Pfizer had announced an initial agreement to provide 30 million vaccine doses to Turkey, read the statement.