ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey has recorded 39,302 new coronavirus cases in the space of 24 hours, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, health ministry data showed on Wednesday.
The government eased measures to curb the pandemic in Turkey earlier this month, prompting a surge in new cases. On Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan announced a tightening of measures, including the return of full nationwide weekend lockdowns for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which will start in two weeks.
The latest daily death toll was 152, bringing the cumulative toll to 31,537, according to the health ministry.
“We have diagnosed 180,448 cases of the variant first identified in Britain…the variant currently reached 75% of total cases in our country,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Koca also said the government was determined to vaccinate the majority of the population by the end of June.
Turkey has until now been using COVID-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd and procured the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The country has carried out 16.04 million inoculations, with 9.14 million people having received a first dose, since Jan. 14 when the nationwide rollout began.
(Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Alex Richardson)