UPDATES FIGURES, ADDS REMARKS FROM HEALTH MINISTER
By Faruk Zorlu, Jeyhun Aliyev and Burak Dag
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has administered over 50.75 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January, according to official figures released Thursday.
More than 35.15 million people have received their first doses, while over 15.25 million have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.
It also confirmed 5,288 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, including 462 symptomatic patients.
Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.43 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 49,774 with 42 new fatalities.
As many as 6,219 more patients have won the battle against the virus, taking the number of recoveries past 5.3 million.
Over 61 million coronavirus tests have been done to date.
The latest figures put the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition at 706.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that over half of the country's population has been vaccinated with at least one COVID-19 shot.
"Today we passed 50 million vaccine doses. The number of people who have received at least one dose of vaccine is more than 35 million [and] 57% of our population aged 18 and above has been vaccinated. Our goal is 70% until the [Muslim Eid al-Adha] holiday [which falls around July 20 this year]. Vaccination cannot be neglected. Let's prioritize getting vaccinated," he said.
Amid a nationwide fall in virus cases and an expedited inoculation drive, Turkey has entered a new normalization phase, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions.
But seeking to limit the spread of the virus' Delta variant, it has suspended flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, passengers from the UK, Iran, Egypt and Singapore are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result taken within the last 72 hours.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.95 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with some 182.4 million cases reported worldwide, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.