Turkey lifts COVID-19 mask mandate

Turkey lifts COVID-19 mask mandate

The Turkish Health Ministry made good on its promise to remove one of the two remaining COVID-19 mask mandates as the pandemic drastically receded.

Starting on Monday, masks are no longer required while boarding mass transit, from buses to airplanes. Thus, hospitals are now the only places where wearing a protective mask is still required.

Masks have been mandatory in the country since the pandemic made its foray into Turkey in 2020. After ups and downs, the country appears to have overcome its struggle against the devastating infection which killed more than 97,000 people.

Earlier, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that the mask mandate would be lifted if the number of daily cases is below 1,000 for three consecutive days. Sunday was the last day and Koca announced the mask mandate decision on Twitter. "Masks are no longer mandatory, except for in hospitals. But after all this experience, we can keep our masks with us in crowded closed places, especially on public transportation," he said. The country lifted its longtime indoor mask mandate in April.

Turkey registered 864 new coronavirus infections over the past day, according to official data released on Sunday. The Health Ministry said two related deaths and 1,107 recoveries were also recorded, while 129,961 tests were done.