President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey had lost some ground in the fight against the corona virus, but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing would protect people and help the economy to recover in the second half of the year.
This month, Ankara opened restaurants and cafes and canceled orders for weekend stays and most intercity travel bans. Since June 1, the new COVID-19 cases have doubled to nearly 1,600 a day, raising concerns about recurrence.
"The numbers of the past few days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic," Erdogan said in a television speech. "But we want to remove the pandemic from our agenda by following the rules for cleaning, masking, and removal."
When Turks flocked to streets, parks, shopping centers and vacation spots, face masks were prescribed on Thursday in big cities. As of Friday, the new virus cases dropped to just over 1,200, with the total number of cases exceeding 185,000, the thirteenth highest
On Saturday, a separate general blocking period of several hours was imposed so that the students could take the high school exams. Some Turks posted pictures of crowded crowds near schools on social media and criticized the decision to run tests.
"Look at these photos closely … too bad," said one on Twitter.
A week ago, Turkey's top medical association criticized the decision to loosen the restrictions too early.
Health and government officials have told Reuters that a tougher line on social distancing could be adopted, despite saying that there is no plan to slow the economy, which has almost stalled this month since mid-March.
Most economists expect the Turkish economy to shrink this year.
Erdogan said, however, that the signs of economic recovery have been "pretty strong" since May, adding, "we expect great momentum in the second half of the year."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)