Turkey COVID-19 cases hit two-month highs, a week after curbs eased

FILE PHOTO: Susan Janet Crouch, a 71-year old woman from Britain living in Turkey, receives the first dose of Sinovac's CoronaVac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a healthcare centre as nationwide vaccination continues for seniors, in the Mediterranean town of Side, in Antalya province, Turkey March 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kaan Soyturk/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Turkey rose to two-month highs near 14,000 on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed, more than a week after President Tayyip Erdogan announced an easing of measures to curb the pandemic.

The number of new cases amounted to 13,755, the highest level since Jan. 6, bringing the total number of cases up to 2,807,387.

On Monday last week, Erdogan announced the partial opening of cafes, restaurants and schools, as well as an easing of weekend lockdowns among measures which he called a “controlled normalisation”.

The number of daily cases on that day was below 10,000.

Cafe and restaurant owners, limited to takeaway service for much of last year, had long urged a reopening of in-house dining after sector revenues dropped 65%. However, the Turkish Medical Association has said it did not see the conditions for normalisation.

Tuesday’s data showed 66 people died due to COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period, raising the death toll to 29,160.

Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has administered 10.28 million vaccine doses in a campaign that began in mid-January. More than 7.7 million people have received a first shot and nearly 2.6 million a second dose of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech.

Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Alexandra Hudson