Millions await to hear what will happen when the 17-day lockdown is set to end next week. Authorities are basing their plans on the number of daily COVID-19 cases. But the president, the ultimate authority on the extension of lockdown, has implied that a gradual lifting of the restrictions is in store.
In a video message to celebrate the Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr) holiday on Wednesday, Erdoğan said they would gradually ease lockdown restrictions after the holiday – which starts on Thursday – as coronavirus cases and fatalities continue to drop nationwide.
"Hopefully, by bringing the pandemic under control, we will take normalization steps in a controlled manner after bayram,” he said, adding "good days are ahead even though we are having a bitter holiday due to the problems caused by the pandemic.”
He recalled that last bayram Turkey was hoping to overcome COVID-19, but the new waves across the world in the following months affected the country. He said that restrictions became a necessity due to the rising number of cases and deaths.
Stressing that Turkey will continue to fight against the novel coronavirus, he said the country will use every method, including vaccination, to overcome it. Turkey has administered over 25.33 million coronavirus jabs since launching a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, according to official figures. More than 14.7 million people have received their first doses, while second doses have been given to over 10.62 million people.
Erdoğan noted that the government extended a helping hand to all those affected by the pandemic by providing support packages. "We are determined to ensure that our country takes its deserved place in the global political and economic system that will be reshaped after the pandemic,” he said.
The country began a 17-day lockdown on April 29. The restrictions led to a drop in cases in 80 of Turkey's provinces on May 1-7, according to the latest Health Ministry statistics. The country's overall case tally is now over 5.05 million, while the nationwide death toll stands at 43,589.