Erdogan says Turkey lost ground in coronavirus fight

By Jonathan Spicer and Irem Koca
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey had lost some ground in the fight against the coronavirus, but a focus on hygiene, masks and social detachment would protect people and help the economy recover in the second half of the year recover.
This month, Ankara opened restaurants and cafes and canceled orders for weekend stays and most intercity travel bans. Since June 1, the new COVID-19 cases have doubled to nearly 1,600 a day, raising concerns about recurrence.
"The numbers of the past few days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic," Erdogan said in a television speech. "But we want to remove the pandemic from our agenda by following the rules for cleaning, masking, and removal."
When Turks flocked to streets, parks, shopping centers and vacation spots, face masks were prescribed on Thursday in big cities. On Friday, the number of new viruses dropped to just over 1,200, with a total of more than 185,000 cases, the thirteenth highest worldwide.
On Saturday, a separate general blocking period of several hours was imposed so that the students could take the high school exams. Some Turks posted pictures of crowded crowds near schools on social media and criticized the decision to run tests.
"Take a good look at these photos ... too bad," said one on Twitter.
A week ago, Turkey's top medical association criticized the decision to loosen the restrictions too early.
Health and government officials have told Reuters that a harder line on social distancing could be adopted, although they said there is no plan to slow the economy, which has almost stalled this month since mid-March.
Most economists expect the Turkish economy to shrink this year.
Erdogan said, however, that the signs of economic recovery have been "pretty strong" since May, adding, "we expect great momentum in the second half of the year."

(Edited by Jason Neely and Giles Elgood)

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