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Coronavirus: Turkey's death toll rises to 214

Ankara reports 46 new deaths as it steps up efforts to increase testing for the virus by 25 percent
A total of 243 patients have recovered from the coronavirus in Turkey (Reuters)

Turkey's death toll from the novel coronavirus has exceeded 200, after the government reported 46 new fatalities on Tuesday.

The new deaths bring the total number of fatalities to 214, and come as the country has stepped up its efforts to increase testing for the virus, with the number of tests carried out on Tuesday having increased by 25 percent compared to the last few days.

Authorities conducted 15,422 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out to 92,403, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

Koca also announced 2,704 new cases, taking the total number of coronavirus infections - officially known as Covid-19 - to 13,531.

The government has taken strong measures to contain the virus, including closing down schools and mosques, barring flights from dozens of countries and imposing a curfew on its senior citizens.

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Turkey also announced a $15.5bn economic aid package to assist people and businesses affected by the financial decline caused by the global pandemic.

Last week, Middle East Eye reported that the Turkish government had imposed a internal travel ban, barring travel to and from 30 cities within Turkey. The only way citizens can travel is to obtain formal permission from local governors, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

"We have entered a new period where we need to make more sacrifices," Erdogan said in a special address to the nation last week. "We won't fall into inaction nor panic." 

Currently across the country there are 847 patients in intensive care units, of whom 623 are intubated, meaning that a tube is inserted into a person's airways, allowing for a ventilator to assist with breathing.

While Covid-19 cases in Turkey are continuing to increase, the number of patients who are recovering is slowly increasing as well. On Tuesday, 81 patients had recovered from the novel virus, with the total number of recovered cases coming to 243.