Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said that the country had lost some ground in its battle with the coronavirus but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year.
Earlier this month, Ankara opened restaurants and cafes and lifted weekend stay-home orders and most intercity travel bans.
In a televised address, President Erdogan said, “The numbers in recent days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic”.
“But we aim to remove the pandemic from our agenda by respecting the cleaning, mask and distance rules”, he further said.
On Friday new virus cases dipped to just over 1,200 with total cases at more than 185,000, the thirteenth highest
Most economists expect Turkey’s economy to contract this year.
But Erdogan said economic recovery signals have been “quite strong” since May, adding “we expect great momentum from the second half of the year.”
On Wednesday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey will not consider imposing stay-home orders despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.”
The minister said,”Fluctuations (of the number of new cases) can occur as seen in many countries of the world. These are fully proportional to the extent of compliance with our measures”.
Turkish citizens aged 65 and older were permitted to go outdoors every day while the curfew for those under the age of 18 has been lifted, Erdogan earlier said.
Turkey resumed domestic flights as part of measures towards normalization amid the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this month.
The country has seen a slight increase in daily COVID-19 cases since it lifted restrictions on June 1.