Turkey to see gradual COVID-19 normalization beginning March 1

Turkey to see gradual COVID-19 normalization beginning March 1

Turkey will start to gradually normalize from coronavirus restrictions as of March 1, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.

Underlining that they are working carefully on the steps, Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that the process will start with provincial public health councils dealing with four risk levels in line with Health Ministry criteria.

Announcing earlier this week an easing of restrictions starting in March, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said provinces will be categorized as low, medium, high or very high risk based on infection rates and the vaccination process.

Koca, who hinted at the new process one week ago, previously underlined that an all-out removal of restrictions is out of the question, but all 81 provinces of the country will be assessed for risks they face. Thus, in order to lift restrictions, the vaccination rate should be high and the number of cases should be low.

Speaking to Sabah newspaper’s Ankara Bureau Chief Okan Muderrisoglu, Koca said provinces at very high risk will be coded “red.” High-risk provinces will be “orange,” while medium-risk areas will be “yellow.” “Blue” indicates the lowest risk, and normalization will start first in those provinces. Color-coding will be in force as of March 1.

The ministry is still working on criteria for relaxing measures. Blue provinces will be those where the number of cases is between zero and 11 per 100,000 people, Yellow from 11-35 and orange from 35-100. Provinces with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people will be coded red. Koca explained: "For example, the number of cases in the capital Ankara is 35 per 100,000 people, or in other words, we have daily cases of around 275 for a population of 5.5 million people. This number is 1,925 weekly. Therefore, Ankara is somewhere between low-risk and risky. A controlled normalization can be considered for Ankara, especially in a change of curfew hours and reopening of restaurants and cafes,” the minister said.

He said the lifting of both weekday and weekend curfews will be considered for provinces in the blue category. Currently, only Hakkari and Shirnak in the southeast are in the blue category. Shirnak has an average of 7.82 cases per 100,000 people, while Hakkari has 9.55, according to figures from Feb. 8-14. Istanbul, the country’s most crowded city with a population of over 15 million, has 60.19 cases per 100,000. Trabzon in the Black Sea region had the highest number, at 228.02, according to last week’s figures, and it is followed by three other Black Sea provinces.

“The decision process on lifting restrictions will be dynamic. If the outbreak figures are high for two to three weeks in a province, but the number of cases is very low in its neighboring provinces, travel restrictions from those provinces to the province with the high number of cases can be restricted,” Koca added.

Public health boards formed by local governorates will be in charge of lifting or tightening restrictions. “Local administrators and the public have to exert efforts to curb the numbers,” Koca said.

Turkey has started announcing weekly average case numbers for each of its 81 provinces, and the minister says this period was chosen because of diagnosis and testing processes. “A person diagnosed with COVID-19 sometimes tests negative in a second test done a week later,” Koca said.

“What we really want is to make citizens stand up against the outbreak and (adapt to measures),” Koca underlined. “We desire to increase the sensitivity and responsibility of citizens at this point. We want to motivate them to affect the results of measures. Thus, the perception that the restrictions are arbitrarily imposed will change. We now have standards, and our citizens can see that they have the power to change the rules and relax the restrictions,” he added.

Once every two weeks, the restrictions will be subject to revision based on the course of the cases. “A province whose status was upgraded from yellow to red should be aware that the restrictions may return. Business owners can also make preparations to shut down or reopen based on how a province fares in the number of cases,” Koca said.

Vaccination continues at full speed

Turkey received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Dec. 30 and gave them an emergency usage approval on Jan. 13, one day before administering them to health care workers.

Hospitals and clinics across Turkey have been busy lately with the inoculation movement. More than 2.8 million people have now received the vaccine as part of the drive, and health care workers, who were first to receive jabs last month, started receiving their second dose of CoronaVac. The inactive vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac is currently the only one available in the country, but it will receive its first doses of the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech later this month.

While health care workers received their second jabs, last Friday, people aged 65 or above received their first shots. The country's oldest citizens were vaccinated with their first jabs shortly after the first doses were administered to health care workers. After completing the vaccination of senior citizens, the country will move to age-independent vaccination in the next phase of the plan. These people include soldiers, police officers, teachers and people working in sectors critical for daily life, from logistics to the food sector. Inoculation is also planned this weekend for members of the Cabinet, in a bid to set an example for the public. Vaccine skeptics and anti-vaxxers thrive on social media, looking to deter inoculation, though surveys show a large majority of people are willing to be vaccinated.

Turkey on Friday reported 7,419 new coronavirus cases, including 638 symptomatic patients, according to the Health Ministry.

The country's case count passed 2.62 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 27,903, with 82 fatalities over the past day.

Since last December, Turkey has been implementing curfews on weeknights and partial lockdowns on weekends to curb the virus's spread.

Since December 2019, when it first emerged, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.45 million lives in 192 countries and regions.

Over 110 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries now passing 62 million, according to figures compiled by the U.S.' Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S., India and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of cases.

Aramco seeks one-year extension on $10 billion loan
Aramco seeks one-year extension on $10 billion loan
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Loading Bars
US to prepare additional measures against Myanmar after protest break-up
Iran boosts electricity generation volumes at its thermal power plants
Trump proposes new voting limits, rails against "monster" voting rights bill
Brazil registers 34,027 new COVID-19 cases, 721 related deaths
Trump uses CPAC speech to tear into Biden on border crisis, says he won't create new party
Italy's 2020 export to Azerbaijan up in value terms
Israel registers 1,218 new COVID-19 cases, 774,479 in total
US condemned violence against protesters in Myanmar
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 384,000 in past day - WHO
France and Germany to require COVID-19 test for some border crossings
France reports nearly 20,000 new coronavirus cases, 122 deaths
Italy’s former PM Conte accepts task of trying to revive 5-Star Movement
Norway's capital tightens lockdown to fight faster virus spread
Iranian minister talks about obstacles related to Iran-Turkmenistan railway lines
Iran dismisses idea of talks with EU and U.S. to revive 2015 nuclear deal
Russia launches its first Arctic-monitoring satellite
European Council President arrives in Tbilisi
Sugar prices in Kyrgyzstan increase by 46% over year
Turkey reports over 8,000 new daily COVID-19 cases, 66 fatalities
Iran’s non-oil trade exceeds $65 billion in 11 months
Moscow hosts trilateral meeting on Karabakh
Before Khojaly, Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us - ex-president of Armenia
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases near 3.89 mln: Africa CDC
Israel launches 29-mln-USD support plan for SMEs amid COVID-19 crisis
Turkish firm to develop hybrid rocket tech for 2023 moon mission
Iran’s Isfahan Province possesses great potential for construction of greenhouses
UK records another 6,035 coronavirus cases, 144 deaths
Weekly review of main events in Azerbaijan's transport sector
Germany to invest €8 mln in economic development of Aral Sea region
0.03% of pupils and 0.1% of school staff confirmed with Covid-19 this week in Georgia
At least 18 killed in Myanmar on bloodiest day of protests against coup
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 1
Aramco seeks one-year extension on $10 billion loan
Bitcoin extends retreat from record high to hit lowest in 20 days
COVID-19: Kazakh capital returns to ‘red zone’
Azerbaijan shares footage of Chiraguz village of Khojavand district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
French company to generate electricity from waste in Iran's Tabriz
Azerbaijan discloses number of citizens vaccinated against COVID-19
Azerbaijan able to firmly prevent any possible threats - Foreign Ministry
Bloody events in Sumgayit city - planned provocation against Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry (UPDATE)
Death toll from coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 60,000
Georgian journalists and experts visit Fuzuli district of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall in Iran
Georgia's export of vegetables down year-on-year
Russia and Azerbaijan are friendly countries - President Aliyev
Russian-Turkish Monitoring Center will function as very important instrument for post-war period - President Aliyev
Armenian soldiers fled leaving two lonely elderly Armenian people behind - President Aliyev
We have no problems with Armenian people - President of Azerbaijan
“Smart village” project will be implemented in three villages of Zangilan district - President Aliyev
When Khojaly genocide was committed, world was silent - President of Azerbaijan
Turkey to open tender for Canal Istanbul in 2021
Armenian side did not provide us with maps of minefields, this can be considered crime - President of Azerbaijan
I can't understand why poster 'Welcome to Azerbaijan!' irritates Armenia in any way - President Aliyev
There cannot be prisoner of war 20 days after war, these are terrorists and saboteurs - President Aliyev
Armenia must fully implement the statement of 10 November - President of Azerbaijan
Some countries purchased three to four times more vaccines than they need - President of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan - first country in South Caucasus to start vaccination, says President Aliyev
We have avenged victims of Khojaly on battlefield - President of Azerbaijan
Whole world sees and knows that Azerbaijani people were subjected to genocide at end of 20th century - President Aliyev
Russia’s COVID-19 case tally rises by 11,359
Azerbaijan reports 117 more COVID-19 recoveries
European Council President to visit Georgia today
Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with Arktika-M satellite blasts off from Baikonur spaceport
Certain villages in Iran to be supplied with gas
Bloody events in Sumgayit city - planned provocation against Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan shares Eyvazkhanbeyli village of Aghdam district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran's Tehran Oil Refining Company signs contract to increase refining
China's factory activity expands at a slower pace in February, misses expectations
Turkey set to support Croatia's post-quake revival: Turkish FM
COVID-19 Update: 83,179 Kyrgyzstanis recovered
Georgia reports 248 coronavirus cases, 525 recoveries, 11 deaths
Iran's Gorgan-Mashhad railway to be built
Trade relations between Azerbaijan and Russian Ulyanovsk region expanding
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
UK's Sunak will set out plans to raise income tax by 6 billion sterling
Australia receives AstraZeneca vials as it ramps up vaccination drive
January 2021 value of mortgage loans in Azerbaijan grows in absolute terms
Kazakhstan adds 791 new COVID-19 cases
5.5-magnitude quake hits 81 km SW of Islay (Matarani), Peru
Iranian Minister unveils ports' infrastructure dev't plans
Turkey confirms 9,193 new COVID-19 cases, 2,693,164 in total
S&P Global affirms Georgia’s sovereign credit rating at ‘BB’
Razi COVID-19 vaccine to begin clinical trial: Minister
5 died after accident in northeast China chemical fiber plant
US regulator approves Johnson&Johnson coronavirus vaccine
Kazakhstan twofold decreases exports to Norway amid COVID-19
Iraq reports 3,543 new COVID-19 cases, 692,241 in total
5.3-magnitude quake hits 3 km SW of Point MacKenzie, Alaska
Qatar reports 460 new COVID-19 cases, 163,197 in total
Weekly review of highlights in Azerbaijani financial market
UK records another 7,434 coronavirus cases, 290 deaths
It is necessary to end deployment of Armenian armed forces on territory of Azerbaijan - Foreign Ministry
WHO reports over 420,000 new daily cases of COVID-19
Istanbul’s major Galataport project to go live in April
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on February 28
Uzbekistan's largest share in formation of GDP falls on Tashkent
Azerbaijan's revenues from tea, coffee exports double in Jan.2021
Cargo movements in Iran's Khalij-e-Fars port increase
China conditionally approves one-shot recombinant COVID-19 vaccine
Stock gains power Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to higher profit
All news