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Coronavirus: Turkey to relax lockdown measures from 1 June

President Erdogan says restaurants, cafes and parks will be allowed to reopen from Monday as Covid-19 cases continue declining
Fifteen provinces, including Istanbul, will remain under lockdown this weekend (AFP/File photo)

Turkey will begin easing coronavirus restrictions early next week, allowing restaurants, cafes and parks to open their doors after weeks of closures.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement after a weekly cabinet meeting on Thursday, adding that a ban on travel to and from major provinces would also be lifted from 1 June.

Erdogan said child-care facilities including nurseries would also be allowed to reopen, but bars would remain closed. 

He added that civil servants would begin resuming their normal work routines, but there would still be some restrictions on the movements of individuals under the age of 18 and those over 65.

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"We don't have the slightest doubt that we will make up for all our losses of the last 2-1/2 months in a short period of time," Erdogan said in the televised address.

He also urged citizens to wear face masks in public and to show caution in their interaction with others.

"Let's definitely wear masks, maintain physical distance and pay attention to hygiene. These are three essential things for us."

The Interior Ministry announced that 15 provinces, including Istanbul, would remain under lockdown this weekend.

Turkey has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the Middle East, with almost 160,000 Covid-19 infections, including more than 4,300 deaths.

Still, the country has seen a significant drop in the number of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with officials claiming Turkey is well prepared to stave-off a second wave of the disease. 

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported 1,035 new cases on Thursday and 34 deaths - down from a peak of more than 5,000 daily cases and 120 deaths at the height of the outbreak in April.