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Erdogan: Turkey will start lifting COVID curbs in March | News on the coronavirus pandemic

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The Turkish president said a plan to reopen cafes and restaurants, which had been closed for months, is expected to be announced soon.

Turkey will begin a gradual return to normal life province by province from March, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who added that national COVID-19 weekend lockdowns would be lifted in some provinces based on rates of infection.

Turkey imposed curfews, weekend closures and other brakes in December as cases rose sharply. It plans to reopen schools across the country on March 1 and its immunization program has so far administered injections to nearly 5.7 million people using vaccines developed by Chinas Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan said a plan to reopen cafes and restaurants, which have been closed for months, would be announced within days and urged citizens to continue to abide by measures.

We will rank our provinces as low, medium, high and very high risk based on infection and vaccination rates. From March, we enter the period of gradual normalization, he said.

We are gradually lifting lockdown restrictions, starting with weekends, based on infection, vaccination and other criteria in the provinces, Erdogan said, adding that the roadmap for normalization and the return to school would be assessed again in the coming weeks.

Turkey has so far reported more than 2.6 million cases and nearly 27,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March last year. Although vaccinations began last month, daily new cases persist between 6,000 and 8,000, which is concerning.

Erdogan said he believed March would be a month in which Turkey would make great strides in terms of vaccination and added that Ankara was making arrangements for purchasing doses.

We’re in a position where we can prevent this nuisance from being a threat by showing a little more patience, with a little more sacrifice, he said.



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