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Turkey Says Low Risk of 2nd Outbreak, Daily Coronavirus Cases below 1,000

Turkey Says Low Risk of 2nd Outbreak, Daily Coronavirus Cases below 1,000

Wednesday, 20 May, 2020 - 19:00
People walk on the deserted Istiklal Street in Istanbul, during a four-day curfew to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. (AFP)

Turkey does not risk a second wave of infections from the new coronavirus at the moment and it is preparing to start controlled “medical tourism” with 31 countries as of Wednesday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

“If we continue to abide by the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and a limited social life, then we don’t see a risk of second wave,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.

“Like the rest of the world, we are also monitoring actively such a risk around September or October. But we are in a position to take necessary measures in the case of a second wave,” he said.

The number of new cases of new coronavirus infection identified in the last 24 hours fell below 1,000 in Turkey, marking a change in the country’s fight against the coronavirus, Koca announced.

“We will fight more freely with the virus by changing the conditions,” he said on Twitter, adding that people should continue using masks and follow 1.5-meter social-distancing measures.

Health Ministry data showed 972 new patients had been identified in the last 24 hours.

The number of people who have died from the infectious respiratory disease rose by 23 in the same period to a total of 4,222, data also showed.

Turkey’s daily number of new infections has fallen to around 1,000 from some 4,500 last month. Its total coronavirus cases topped 150,000 with some 75% already recovered.

Koca said Turkey was starting medical tourism season with 31 countries where the risk of pandemic is lower, despite a lack of international flights.

“If necessary, and if there is demand, we will organize charter flights for medical tourism,” Koca said, adding that the tourists would be tested for the virus upon arrival.

Travel restrictions for senior citizens were to be eased in the coming days, the minister said.

Turkey will ease existing 14-day quarantine restrictions for citizens coming from abroad as the country starts softening measures taken to stem spread of the coronavirus, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

Turkish citizens ferried from abroad were spending 14 days under quarantine in student dorms where they were monitored for possible symptoms of COVID-19 disease.

The people arriving on scheduled flights will go through medical check and will be monitored for 14 days at their homes.

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