Turkey's number of daily COVID-19 cases rose to 1,562 on Sunday with 15 new deaths, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
The latest infections raised the tally of COVID-19 cases nationwide to 178,239, Koca said on Twitter, citing the Health Ministry data. The total death toll in the country rose to 4,807, with 151,417 recovered patients.
"Our number of healed patients has fallen below the number of new cases. The need for intensive care and respiratory equipment is increasing: We are moving away from the target," Koca said.
"Our weakest link, Unwary optimism," he said, urging the public to return to a "controlled social life" on Monday.
Earlier Sunday, health experts and authorities sounded alarms about a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in Turkey as the country’s number of daily cases jumped back to the highest in nearly a month. On Saturday, Turkey confirmed 1,459 coronavirus cases in a single day.
The sudden increase in new infections came as Turkey launched a normalization process. Beginning June 1, Ankara lifted or significantly eased much of the restrictions on daily life. Weekend curfews and travel restrictions on the country’s worst-hit 15 provinces were lifted, while restaurants, malls and gyms were all allowed to open.
The health minister has repeatedly warned that the normalization process would not mean citizens could go back to living as they did before the outbreak, not unless a vaccine or a drug for the virus was developed. Koca has been issuing repeated warnings to citizens to wear a mask and practice social distancing in what he called the "controlled social life" period.
Since first appearing in China last December, the coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions.
The U.S., Brazil and Russia are currently the hardest hit in the world.
The pandemic has killed over 431,000 people worldwide, with more than 7.83 million confirmed cases and over 3.73 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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