ISTANBUL (Reuters) -A panel of scientists advising Turkey’s government on tackling the coronavirus pandemic will recommend a series of tougher measures to combat a “third peak” of the disease, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday.
Koca did not provide details on the new measures but said a period of limitations on mobility and close contact was necessary to stem the spread of the virus, adding that more contagious variants were now dominant in Turkey.
“The Coronavirus Science Council has prepared a comprehensive set of measures with alternatives. We will present these recommendations to the cabinet on Tuesday,” he told a news conference.
“This is the third peak (of COVID-19) in Turkey, and the fourth in Istanbul,” Koca added.
Turkey announced on March 29 weekend lockdowns and restrictions for restaurants and cafes during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts on April 13.
A senior government official earlier told Reuters that President Tayyip Erdogan was likely to order a tightening of restrictions this week ahead of the vital tourism season.
Turkey ranks fourth globally in new case numbers, which hit nearly 56,000 on Saturday – a five-fold jump from early March, when Erdogan loosened social curbs in what he called a period of “controlled normalisation”.
Turkey, with a total population of nearly 84 million, has carried out around 19 million vaccinations, including 11.31 million first doses, since Jan. 14, when it began the nationwide inoculation campaign.
Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ece ToksabayEditing by Gareth Jones