Turkey is not experiencing the second wave of the coronavirus and the country is still facing the impact of the first phase, the health minister announced on Wednesday.
As many as 1,386 patients recovered from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the tally to 164,234, Fahrettin Koca told a news conference following a scientific committee meeting in the capital Ankara.
"Spread of virus has not slowed down, there is no scientific evidence that it has become less potent," Koca said.
"Before May 16, the average age of death [from the coronavirus] was 71, now it is 74. In terms of cases, the average age of patients was 41, and now it is 32," he said.
"Our hospitalization load have decreased, patients in hospitals, ICU patients, intubated patients and death rates have decreased to a great extent," the minister added.
Turkey reported 24 new COVID-19 fatalities over the past day, bringing the death toll to 5,025, according to the minister.
The country's healthcare workers conducted 53,486 tests for the virus over the past 24 hours, raising the total count to more than 3.08 million.
The total number of coronavirus cases nationwide to date reached 191,657, with new 1,492 infections reported.
A total of 914 patients remain in intensive care units across the country.
Koca has repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining social distance and the use of mask, and advised extra care during the summer season.
- Virus vaccine
Koca said Turkey is planning to work together with Russia and China for the clinical research of coronavirus vaccine.
He said studies pertaining to coronavirus were underway and that clinical trials are expected to be held this fall.
The imposition of new coronavirus restrictions is not on the country's agenda yet, the health minister added.
Speaking about the approaching Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holy festival, Koca said: "I cannot say if there will be restrictions during the holy festival, but I think we will not have the same amount of restrictions as we had in Eid al-Fitr [another Muslim festival observed in late May]," he said.
"Compared to the previous days, our test numbers are up at least by 10,000, but the results still warn us against the increase of the risks," the minister added.
He voiced hope that Turkey has overcome difficult phase of the pandemic.
Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil, and Russia are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.
The pandemic has killed nearly 478,300 people worldwide, with over 9.29 million confirmed cases and more than 4.66 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
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