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Turkish health minister says schools will never close despite high COVID-19 infections

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By Reuters
Turkish health minister says schools will never close despite high COVID-19 infections
Turkish health minister says schools will never close despite high COVID-19 infections   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">ANKARA</span> – Turkey will “never” close schools again despite a recent rise in <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 infections and the government is mulling various methods to continue in-person education, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.</p> <p>After months of online classes during the <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 pandemic, Turkey reopened schools this month, while removing most restrictions over the summer. It also began asking for a negative <span class="caps">PCR</span> test or proof of vaccination from teachers and also for certain public events.</p> <p>Turkey’s daily infections have risen over the last month at a rate higher than most peer countries to just below 30,000 per day, as have average positive tests, according to global data.</p> <p>Daily deaths, which rose to around 250 this month, have fallen slightly and Turkey’s vaccination rate based on population is higher than most peers.</p> <p>Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday, Koca said a quarter of coronavirus cases detected since schools reopened were among those aged up to 17. But the priority was to continue in-person classes under all conditions, he said.</p> <p>“I have said that we will keep schools open this year under any circumstances. It’s not about being the last to close, they should never close,” state broadcaster <span class="caps">TRT</span> Haber quoted Koca as saying.</p> <p>He said Ankara was also mulling education options including weekend classes and other methods. Turkey will keep shopping malls open.</p> <p>Some 52% of Turks have received two vaccine shots under a national programme that has administered more than 108 million jabs. More than 63,000 people have died from <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 in Turkey, according to the World Health Organization.</p> <p/> </div>