ANKARA

Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

May 1, a public holiday, is being marked as Labor and Solidarity Day in the country.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan extolled the benefits of the Trans-Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline Project in an article he wrote for the latest issue of The Diplomat magazine.

On Thursday, Turkish and Russian forces conducted the seventh joint patrol along a key highway in northwestern Syria, said Turkey’s National Defense Ministry.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called on the United Arab Emirates to abandon its hostile attitude towards Ankara. Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said the “ugly” and “baseless” allegations made by the UAE administration were attempts seeking to cover up its “destructive policies.”

Meanwhile, some 30,000 Turkish citizens are in quarantine after returning from abroad as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu said Thursday.

Virus in Turkey

Turkey’s excellent crisis management amid the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bear fruit. On Thursday, the number of people in the country who recovered from the novel coronavirus reached nearly 49,000 while the death toll stands at 3,174 with 93 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.

The country’s health minister confirmed Turkey registered 2,615 new cases, bringing the tally to over 120,000.

Turkey currently ranks among the top 10 countries in the world that conducted the most virus tests, while the total number of tests in the country exceeded 1 million.

Turkey’s exemplary fight against virus

Turkey ranks third worldwide in supplying medical aid around the world.

On Thursday, Turkey sent a second batch of medical supplies to the United States as the country reported more than 1 million virus cases.

In a phone call with Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar thanked Turkey for the medical aid it sent to combat the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak, which has already claimed at least 63,000 lives.

Separately, Palestine also thanked Turkey on Thursday for sending medical aid. The medical aid came at a time when the government needed it the most, the Palestinian Authority’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad ed-Dijk said.

In an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Turkey has imposed a three-day curfew in 31 provinces beginning midnight Thursday.

Turkey continues to evacuate its citizens around the world as part of ongoing repatriation efforts for Ramadan amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, five more Turkish nationals in Germany have died from COVID-19 in the cities of Nuremberg, Hanover, Munich and Kiel in the last 24 hours. With the latest fatalities, the number of Turkish nationals in Germany who have died from the virus now stands at 135.

Libya

Despite the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, conflicts and clashes continue in Libya.

Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) conducted five air operations targeting militants loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar at Al-Watiya airbase southwest of the capital Tripoli, military spokesman Mohammed Qanunu said in a statement early Friday.

Earlier, the Libyan government carried out six airstrikes on a military convoy of Haftar’s forces south of Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the people of the city of Sabha, located 750 kilometers (466 miles) south of Tripoli, in a joint statement declared the withdrawal of their support for Haftar and announced their support of the GNA government.

GNA forces also took control of two fronts early Friday in the south of the capital Tripoli.

The GNA on Thursday said it rejected a unilateral truce call for the Ramadan period made by its arch-enemy, renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, the warlord of the armed forces based in the east.

Coronavirus continues doing damage

The global death toll from the novel coronavirus crossed 230,000, with the number of cases passing 3.2 million, according to a running tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Additionally, more than 1 million people worldwide have recovered from COVID-19.

The US is still the most affected country in the world, with over 1 million cases and more than 61,500 fatalities.

US President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he has seen evidence that the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Meanwhile, Europe’s worst-hit countries started lifting their virus lockdowns.

Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe by the coronavirus, reported the largest daily drop in active cases since the beginning of the outbreak with 285 new fatalities, bringing the total to 27,967. The tally of active infections fell by 3,106, the biggest drop ever, and now stands at 101,551.

COVID-19 fatalities and new infections were down again in Spain as the country registered 268 new deaths and 1,309 more active cases, far below the peak seen in early April.

France stood steadfast in the battle against the coronavirus Thursday as the total number of deaths in the country stood at 24,376, while the total number of cases reached 129,581.

Germany announced a further easing of restrictions against the novel coronavirus pandemic, lifting a ban on religious services as well as allowing cultural institutions and playgrounds to reopen under certain conditions. The country’s death toll exceeded 6,200 as of Thursday.

Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced Thursday during a video conference with the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, that he had contracted the novel coronavirus.

Russian authorities confirmed Thursday a record number of new coronavirus cases as the overall count passed the 105,000 mark and the death toll exceeded 1,000. A total of 7,099 people tested positive for the virus and 101 patients have died over the past 24 hours.

Experts believe that China, which they claim has caused the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world, should pay compensation for not fulfilling its international obligations.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said the country is now “past the peak of this [COVID-19] disease”. He noted that the total number of UK-wide deaths from the coronavirus was 26,771, with a rise of 674 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) delivered hygiene and food packages Thursday to needy people in Mexico as part of COVID-19 solidarity efforts. The death toll in Mexico from the coronavirus stands at 1,732 with 163 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, while the total number of infections in the country has neared 18,000.

The number of coronavirus cases across 52 African countries grew to 36,847 on Thursday, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other developments

First Arab astronaut Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman said he had observed the Ramadan fast and offered prayers in space while onboard the American Space Shuttle Discovery as a payload specialist.

Turkey expressed solidarity with Canada on Thursday after a military helicopter operating off a Canadian frigate crashed into the Ionian Sea, leaving one crew member dead and five missing.

Oxford University announced Thursday that it was teaming up with British drug manufacturer AstraZeneca to develop and manufacture an anti-coronavirus vaccine, according to a statement.

Washington has offered Russia assistance in eliminating a resurgence of the Daesh/ISIS terror group in Syrian regime-controlled areas, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Syrian conflict said Thursday.

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