The requirement to wear protective face masks indoors in Turkey has been scrapped, with the exception of hospitals and public transportation.
“The indoor mandate will continue to stay in effect only in public transport and health institutions for a little more until the number of cases decreases below 1,000 daily,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a press conference after the Science Board meeting in the capital Ankara.
The president also highlighted that people over 65 and with chronic diseases are “recommended” to continue wearing masks.
In its latest statement about the COVID-19 cases, the Turkish Health Ministry reported some 2,604 cases on April 25.
As the coronavirus pandemic appeared to be receding, Turkey lifted the outdoor mask mandate on March 2.
The Science Board affiliated with the Health Ministry will no longer be holding regular meetings unless there is an emergency, Erdoğan said.
In his address, the president thanked health workers and the Science Board for their massive efforts in the fight against the pandemic and highlighted the importance of vaccinations.
“Turkey has been one of the nine countries that produced its own COVID-19 vaccine,” the president said, referring to the indigenous vaccine Turkovac.
Since Dec. 30, 2021, citizens have been administered Turkovac in state hospitals across the country.
“This pandemic has taught us that the country has to become self-sufficient in the health field,” the president said. “The European countries have lifted many measures. I think our country has come to the same point too.”
Turkey has administered over 147.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January 2021.
According to official data, over 57.8 million people have received their first doses, while more than 53 million are now fully vaccinated.
The Health Ministry established the Science Board on Jan. 10, 2020, weeks after the first COVID-19 case was detected in Wuhan, China.
Turkey announced the first COVID-19 case on March 13, 2020. With the rise in the number of coronavirus cases,Erdoğan announced measures, face mask mandates, partial curfews and lockdowns on May 4.
It was the end of December 2020 when the first batch of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine was brought to Turkey.
Aytaç Yalman, former commander of the Turkish Land Forces, was the first person reported “to die due to coronavirus” on March 15, 2020. Since then, some 98,706 people have lost their lives.