Turkey's Health Ministry recorded 11,837 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest figure since Jan. 7 as the country entered a new phase of the "controlled normalization" process.
Data also showed 68 people died due to COVID-19 in the same period, raising the toll to 28,706.
On Monday evening, President Tayyip Erdoğan lifted weekend lockdowns in low- and medium-risk cities and limited lockdowns to Sundays in those deemed higher risk under what he called a "controlled normalization."
More restrictions will be lifted or reintroduced based on the number of COVID-19 cases in each of the 81 provinces. Some basic rules, like mandatory masks and social distancing, also remain.
The country will follow a color-coded, regional approach in the new process. Provinces with very high risk have a "red code," while others with lesser cases are respectively classified as "orange, yellow and blue." The categorization is based both on the number of cases and vaccination rate as the country started an inoculation drive on Jan. 14, 2020. This month, Turkey's Health Ministry started issuing maps showing the average number of weekly cases for each province and the authority to remove or impose restrictions was delegated to provincial public health boards, straying from the previous centralized approach.
Current figures show recoveries exceeded 2.5 million while the number of fatalities since March 2020 stands at more than 28,000. The total number of cases stands at more than 2.7 million.
Vaccination is the secondary criteria for reopening and Erdoğan said that Turkey has vaccinated over 10% of its total population so far. As of Tuesday, more than 9 million people were vaccinated, including nearly 2 million people who were administered their second jabs after a 28-day interval.
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