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Turkish COVID-19 cases hit four-month high, doctors urge people to wear masks

Turkey registered 27,802 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the most since May 4, Health Ministry data showed.

People must wear masks and observe social distancing rules as they spend more time indoors in crowded environments, infectious disease specialists told the Diken news website on Tuesday. They also raised concerns that the capacity of the health system will be strained by both COVID-19 infections and increasing flu cases.

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This winter will be tough. Unfortunately, attention to pandemic measures such as using protective masks and following social distancing rules has decreased,” Bülent Ertuğrul a professor and specialist in infectious diseases, told Diken during a symposium organised by the Turkish Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Association (KLİMİK).

Infections began climbing over 20,000 daily in late July after the government ended daily curfews and travel restrictions at the start of that month. It has since re-opened schools. New cases numbered less than 5,000 per day in early July.

The rate of fully vaccinated people in Turkey has yet to reach 50 percent and people should follow protective guidelines, said Serap Şimşek Yavuz, a medical professor.

The Turkish authorities have vaccinated some 40.96 million adults with two doses, according to Health Ministry data. Turkey has a population of around 85 million people, meaning the number equates to some 48.2 percent of citizens.

In the EU, the full inoculation rate among all age groups stands at 60.3 percent, according to ourworldindata.org.

Deaths totalled 276 on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said.

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