Turkey’s Health Ministry on Sunday reported for the first time since late November fewer than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 9,877 — while 193 people died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.
The fall in the number of new cases has been linked to a decrease in the number of coronavirus tests conducted over the past 24 hours — 10,000 fewer than the previous day, at 138,941.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter on Sunday that the drop in the number of new coronavirus infections was a result of the decrease in demand for coronavirus tests and restrictions taken to contain the pandemic.
The Turkish government, which has avoided declaring a full lockdown despite calls from the medical community, imposed a four-day full lockdown beginning on Dec. 31 in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
From July to the end of November, the Turkish government made public only the comparatively small number of COVID-19 “patients” with symptoms, excluding people with no symptoms and who didn’t require hospitalization. In the wake of growing criticism, the Health Ministry in late November began to report the number of all individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The reporting of all coronavirus cases in Turkey, which numbered some 30,000 a day at the time, caused the country jump from one of the least-affected countries to the sixth most affected in the world back in December.