By Merve Berker and Dilan Pamuk
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's downward trend in coronavirus numbers continued on Wednesday as the country reported just over 13,000 new cases, according to Health Ministry data.
A total of 13,029 cases, including 1,496 symptomatic patients, were confirmed across the country, down from 14,497 on Tuesday, the data showed.
Turkey's overall case tally is over 5.07 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 43,821, with 232 fatalities over the past day.
As many as 35,167 more patients in the country won the battle against the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to over 4.8 million.
More than 50.05 million coronavirus tests have been done in Turkey to date, with 228,192 done since Tuesday.
The latest figures show that the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition stands at 2,827.
Turkey has administered over 25.36 million coronavirus jabs since launching a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, according to official figures.
Over 14.7 million people have received their first doses, while over 10.6 million have gotten second doses.
-Eased restrictions expected after holiday
Turkey will gradually ease lockdown restrictions after the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday as coronavirus cases and fatalities continue to fall nationwide, the country's president said Wednesday.
"Hopefully, by bringing the pandemic under control, we will take normalization steps in a controlled manner after the Eid,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message for the holiday, which begins Thursday.
He added: “Good days are ahead even though we are having a bitter holiday due to the problems caused by the pandemic.”
He told how during the last Eid, in 2020, Turkey was hoping to overcome COVID-19 before a new wave of the virus struck worldwide.
He said restrictions were a necessity with rising numbers of cases and deaths, so the country went under full lockdown until the end of the Eid holiday next Monday.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca today also marked May 12 Nurses Day, stressing nurses’ "unforgettable labor" during the pandemic.
“During the pandemic that we are going through, their lofty hearts have become epic,” Koca said, adding that it is hard to show the nurses enough gratitude.
Koca also shared news of an expansion in the vaccination program, in which Turkey will vaccinate the spouses of healthcare professionals starting Thursday.
“I would like to thank our healthcare professionals once again for their sacrifice and struggle,” he said.
Turkey began a 17-day lockdown on April 29 that covers this week’s Eid al-Fitr holiday before ending next Monday.
The restrictions led to a drop in cases in 80 of Turkey’s 81 provinces on May 1-7, according to the Health Ministry.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.32 million lives in 192 countries and regions, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 160 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries at almost 96 million.
The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases.