Turkey does not expect 2nd wave of virus in coming months

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s health minister said Wednesday he does not expect a second wave of coronavirus infections in the country in coming months, but added that authorities are monitoring possible risks in September or October.

Fahrettin Koca told reporters the government is preparing to open the country to domestic travel next month, by introducing a system of certification that will allow passengers with no health issues to travel on planes and trains.

The system will also allow health authorities to easily track travelers and anyone they came into to contact with if they fall ill, he said.

“We are not expecting a second wave in the upcoming period as long as we abide by (social distancing) rules,” Koca said. “But the possibility of a similar situation around September or October is on the world’s agenda... Our scientific council is actively involved and capable of taking measures in the event (of a second wave.)”

Meanwhile, the country is also preparing to accept travelers from 31 countries who want to visit for medical purposes, Koca said.

His announcement came as the number of confirmed infections and deaths in the country continued to drop.

On Wednesday, Turkey registered 23 COVID-19 deaths and 972 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours — the first time in two months that the number of infections has fallen below 1,000.

The total number of confirmed infections now stands at nearly 153,000 with a total of 4,222 deaths.

Earlier, children again enjoyed four hours of outdoor freedom as Turkey allowed kids aged under 15 to leave home for a second time since restrictions were imposed.

Turkey has imposed partial lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with people above 65 and under 20 ordered to stay at home. The government has however allowed senior citizens, children and teenagers to go out for a few hours on different days of the week, as the country eases some coronavirus restrictions.