By Sena Guler
ANKARA (AA) – Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.
– Normalization process in Turkey
Like many other countries, Turkey took additional steps Thursday to ease restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu announced that high-speedtrain service has resumed and trains will run at 50% capacity while ticket prices will stay the same.
Turkey also opened its doors to all foreign patients after initially accepting patients from 31 countries in a move to keep things under control. However, as the country has shown success against the outbreak, it lifted the limitations for the other countries.
To ensure the safety of these patients, a dedicated floor or corridor or other hospital area will be reserved for health tourism patients so that no other patients or companions come into contact with them, according to the Health Ministry.
Turkey will also resume mass prayers as of Friday with some measures. Prayers will be held in open areas or marketplaces close to mosques without a courtyard.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced some other moves to ease virus restrictions such as lifting an intercity travel ban and reopening public places like parks, gardens, restaurants and cafes as of next month.
Meanwhile, Turkey confirmed more than 124,000 recoveries. Some 1,182 new cases were reported, bringing the total to 160,979, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
The death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,461 as the country reported 30 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry data.
– Coronavirus continues doing damage across globe
Since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December, it has spread to 188 countries and regions.
The global tally for infections has exceeded 5.8 million, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.
The worldwide death toll has reached 359,791, while the number of people who have recovered stands at 2.4 million.
The US is the worst-hit country by the pandemic, with the death toll in the country surpassing 101,570 on Thursday.
The UK’s death toll, the highest in Europe and second highest across the globe, stands at 37,919, according to official figures.
Italy reported 70 more fatalities from the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 33,142, as regions started fighting over the possibility of citizens living in the worst-hit regions going on vacation in other areas of the country.
The low increase in deaths registered Thursday confirms the slowing trend in the virus outbreak, showing that the peak of the crisis has been left behind.
France, however, saw a jump in coronavirus cases. The tally of infections stands at 149,071, with an increase of 3,325 cases over the previous day.
It also reported 69 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 28,662.
Russia on Thursday reported its highest-ever number of fatalities caused by the novel coronavirus, with 174 succumbing to the virus over the past day, raising the death toll to 4,142.
But recoveries also outnumbered new cases for the third day in a row as 8,785 recoveries were registered in the country over the last 24 hours versus 8,371 new infections.
– George Floyd
Nearly 1.1 million people have signed a petition seeking justice for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died Monday after being pinned down by a white police officer during an arrest in the US state of Minnesota.
The change.org petition, titled Justice for George Floyd, demands that the fired officers face charges and convictions.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemned the killing of Floyd, whose death was captured on video and led to violent protests in the city of Minneapolis.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Floyd’s death as "murder," saying: "To watch Mr. Floyd be murdered in a video at a time when we're all so sad to begin with – it's always tragic. It has always been tragic. But there we saw it on TV and being murdered on TV.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also among those who condemned the killing and expressed condolences to Floyd’s family over his death.
– Hong Kong law
China on Thursday passed a new national security law for Hong Kong set to rein in the semi-autonomous region after months of protests last year.
Hong Kong last year witnessed protests against the Carrie Lam administration’s move to legalize extradition to mainland China.
The move was perceived with “deep concern” by the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
“Signatories to this statement reiterate our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong,” said a joint statement by the four countries.
– Extension of internet ban in Jammu-Kashmir
Meanwhile, the ban on high-speed internet in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been extended until June 17.
The decision to limit internet connectivity in the disputed region was “necessary” and in the interest of the “sovereignty and integrity of India,” according to the government’s order.
The region’s high-speed internet has been cut off since last August, when India revoked its semi-autonomous status, divided it into two federally ruled territories and imposed a complete lockdown and communications blackout.
– Greece’s treatment of asylum seekers
Rebuffing remarks by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias accusing Turkey of "barbarism," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy called on Greek authorities to stop treating Turkey like an enemy and urged them to be "reasonable and understanding."
Noting how Greece itself violates the basic rights and freedoms of asylum seekers at its door, Aksoy said these violations have been criticized in reports by international human rights groups.
"It is shameful for those who commit all manner of cruelty against innocent people at the border before the eyes of the world to call Turkey 'barbaric'," he added, referring to Greek forces' documented violence and mistreatment towards asylum seekers.
– Other news
Azerbaijan on Thursday marked the 102nd anniversary of its Republic Day.
As part of the celebrations, President Ilham Aliyev attended a ceremony held in front of the Republic Monument and laid a wreath.
Many leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and international organizations sent congratulatory messages to the president.
Meanwhile, amid international criticism for his plan to annex Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will continue with his plan in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu said Palestinians living within annexed areas in the Jordan Valley and West Bank will "remain Palestinian subjects in enclaves" under Israeli security control with no Israeli citizenship.
EU foreign ministers on Thursday decided to extend sanctions for one more year against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria and its supporters.
The restrictive measures have been in place since 2011 in response to the violent repression of the civilian population.
“The EU’s sanctions target those responsible for their suffering, members of the Syrian regime, their supporters and businesspersons who finance it and benefit from the war economy,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.