Turkey's daily COVID-19 death toll hit a record high for a ninth consecutive day on Dec. 1, with 190 fatalities in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed, as Turkish citizens braced for new restrictive measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The number of new coronavirus cases, including 6,101 symptomatic ones, recorded over the past 24 hours stood at 30,110. The country’s new case numbers are only behind the United States, India and Brazil, which all have higher populations than Turkey.
Total COVID-19-related deaths rose to 13,936, but historical data on total cases is not available, as Turkey only reported symptomatic cases for four months. It began reporting all cases last week.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca once again urged the public to follow the measures and stay at home. "We should not forget that precautions, whether obligatory or voluntary, save lives," he wrote on Twitter.
Bugün tespit edilen 6.101 yeni hastamız var. İyileşen hasta sayımız yeni hasta sayımızı geçmedikçe sağlık sisteminin yükü artmaya devam ediyor. İster zorunlu olsun isterse gönüllü tedbirlerin hayat kurtardığını unutmayalım. Tedbirlere uyalım. https://t.co/RVlhe7oIYm— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) December 1, 2020
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the new measures on Nov. 30 to combat the surge in cases and deaths, including introducing a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends.
As part of the new measures, citizens are not allowed to leave home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays, and over the whole weekend from 9 p.m. on Fridays to 5 a.m. on Mondays.
Some sectors, including supply chains and production, are exempt from the measures which began on Dec. 1 evening.
Koca told reporters on Dec. 1 that Turkey plans to start administering the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as this month. He said that at least 10 million, but probably roughly 20 million, vaccine doses would be procured in December, along with 20 million doses in January and another 10 million in February.
Turkey's science committee is preparing plans to start vaccinating health workers on Dec. 11, he said.
Koca had announced last week that Ankara signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech.