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Turkey cancels mandatory indoor mask-wearing

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Ankara, April 27 (IANS) Turkey has lifted the mandatory wearing of masks in closed spaces as the Covid-19 pandemic does not pose a “mass threat” anymore, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“The obligation to use masks in closed spaces has been completely lifted” as the pandemic is “no longer a mass threat,” Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday after a meeting of the country’s coronavirus science board.

However, mandatory mask use in public transport and hospitals will continue until the number of daily cases drops below 1,000, he added.

The science board recommends that those aged above 65 years or with serious diseases continue to use masks, the President said.

Turkey’s daily Covid-19 cases have been in a sharp decline in the past months, with 2,604 new cases and 15 deaths reported on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Turkey has administered more than 147.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines since a mass vaccination campaign in January 2021.

Ankara has been gradually easing coronavirus-related restrictions since 2021. In January 2022, the government abolished the PCR test requirement for screening purposes and for close contacts of individuals testing positive for Covid-19.

The test requirement for unvaccinated individuals joining public events was also cancelled and the quarantine for Covid-19 patients was shortened to seven days.

Turkey lifted the outdoor mask-wearing mandate in March.

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