Eyes on cabinet meeting as virus cases keep rising

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The public, particularly business owners in Turkey, will keep a close eye on the March 15 cabinet meeting to hear the government’s assessment of the pandemic situation after Turkey has moved to a “controlled normalization” phase.

Erdoğan, who will chair the cabinet meeting, last week said that the virus variants are making it difficult “for us” to take decisions.

“We will push all the limits, we will try as much as possible to stand by the decisions we have taken,” the president said.

Under the controlled normalization plan, which the president unveiled two weeks ago, weekend lockdowns have been lifted in low- and medium-risk provinces while they have been eased in the high- and very-high-risk provinces. Weeknight curfews, however, remain in place across the country.

Restaurants and cafes are now serving customers from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 50 percent capacity in all provinces except for very-high-risk cities.

The key cabinet meeting is taking place at a time when Turkey is experiencing a sharp rise in the coronavirus cases while, according to Health minister Fahrettin Koca, the virus variants are spreading fast in the country.

The U.K., South African, California-New York and Brazilian strains have infected nearly 42,000 people in dozens of provinces, Koca said last week.

For the second week in a row, millions of people ventured out in a lockdown-free Saturday and Sunday. After the scenes of crowded cafes, restaurants and streets and amid the spike in the number of infections, experts warned people throughout the week to follow the mask rule and social distancing.

But people once again poured into the streets and crowded cafes and restaurants over the weekend, particularly in the large cities: Istanbul, the capital Ankara and İzmir.

Turkey has administered more than 11 million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine since it launched the inoculation drive on Jan. 14.

Hurriyet Daily News

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