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10 mln CoronaVac doses could reach Turkey by weekend: Erdoğan

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul following the Friday prayers, Turkish President stressed in his speech that 10 million doses could arrive in Turkey by this weekend after China approved the delivery of a second consignment of the .

Reuters WORLD
Published January 22,2021
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday China had approved delivery of a second consignment of the CoronaVac vaccine, produced by Sinovac Biotech, and 10 million doses could arrive in Turkey by this weekend.

Turkey has already received an initial consignment of three million doses and has so far vaccinated 1.166 million people, mostly health workers and elderly people.

As infections continue to slow down in Turkey after the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Erdoğan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul that the next cabinet meeting would evaluate whether or not to reopen restaurants.

However, Erdoğan added that there were still concerns on such a move, underlining that they would not risk the progress made with the current COVID-19 measures.

"What we're saying is that we should carry out this process carefully [...] We look at the data we have, and according to that data, an extension can be made if necessary," he said.

Mass vaccinations began in Turkey last week after the first batch of 3 million doses of the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech arrived in Turkey on Dec. 30.

So far, over 1 million people, including healthcare workers have been vaccinated against the virus across the country since the beginning of the campaign on Jan. 14.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and members of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board were administered the first dose of the vaccine, as was President Erdoğan, to encourage public confidence in the jab.

The second dose will be administered 28 days after the first. Those who recovered from COVID-19 will not be vaccinated in four to six months following their recovery.

Since last month, Turkey has been imposing curfews as part of its efforts to curb the virus's spread.

As of Thursday, Turkey registered a total of 24,640 deaths from COVID-19, while over 2.29 million people have recovered from the disease. There have been over 2.41 million confirmed cases in the country.

Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed more than 2.09 million lives in 192 countries and regions.

Over 97.59 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries now over 53.83 million, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of cases.

EARLY ELECTIONS, REFORMS, JOINT OPERATIONS

Responding to reporters' questions, Erdoğan dismissed claims by opposition parties that early elections would be held before the scheduled June 2023.

Describing such claims as "dreams," he repeated previous statements and said such prospects were "absolutely off the table."

Touching on the government's legal and economic reform efforts, Erdogan said more details and the schedule for an upcoming package would be announced in the coming weeks.

"This week, we talked amongst ourselves about our action plan, especially about and based on the universal declaration of human rights," he said, adding that efforts on the economy were ongoing.

Turkish officials have reiterated plans to introduce reforms meant to improve the investment environment in the country.

Amid a visit to Iraq by Turkey's National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Erdoğan underscored Ankara's preparedness to provide support to its southeastern neighbor in driving PKK terrorists out of the Sinjar region in Iraq.

Underlining that such an operation on the region, which lies near the northern border with Syria and is also near Turkey's frontier, would not be announced beforehand, Erdoğan said Turkey was always ready to take part in joint operations.