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Turkey says virus outbreak is 'under control'

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has got the coronavirus outbreak “under control” but should not relax containment measures, the country's health minister said Wednesday. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of Turkey's scientific advisory council, Fahrettin Koca reported 117 additional COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the country's total to 2,376.

The minister also reported 3,083 new confirmed infections, raising the total to 98,674. The number of new reported cases was the lowest since April 4 and down from 4,611 reported the previous day. A total of 16,477 patients have recovered, the minister said.

“The data indicates that the outbreak is under control,” Koca told reporters. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that the number of daily infections is stabilizing and the country could transition to normal life after the end of May.

Koca warned against any relaxation of containment measures, especially during the upcoming holy Muslim month of Ramadan, when people traditionally hold fast-breaking dinners with family and friends. “Let’s delay crowded (dinners) ... and Ramadan gatherings until next year,” he said.

The country is imposing weekend curfews and among other measures, has banned people above the age of 65 and below the age of 20 from leaving home. A four-day curfew comes into effect on Thursday — which is a public holiday.

Turkey has the seventh largest number of infections in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data on the coronavirus pandemic. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and could lead to death.

Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak