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

Coronavirus in Turkey

Turkey continued its trend of more people recovering Thursday from the coronavirus than becoming infected.

Its health minister said there were 1,151 more recoveries from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the tally to 206,365. Some 913 people contracted the virus, bringing the total to date to 223,315.

The death toll rose to 5,563, with 18 new fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. 

Hagia Sophia Mosque

Hagia Sophia Mosque is ready to reopen July 24 for worship for the first time in 86 years with an inaugural Friday prayer, according to the governor of Istanbul.   

Ali Yerlikaya said everyone is looking forward to attending the special prayer with great enthusiasm.

Amid preparations to reopen the iconic marvel, Turkey’s top religious authority appointed three imams and five muezzins for Hagia Sophia Mosque.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the new nameplate at the main gate of the Hagia Sophia Mosque.  

Turkey’s fight against terrorism

As Turkey continues its fight against terrorism at full speed, it neutralized two terrorists in the southeast.

Turkish Interior Ministry said gendarmerie forces in Siirt province carried out a counterterror operation in rural areas of Sirvan district.

Separately, Turkish security forces arrested a YPG/PKK terrorist in northern Syria, near Turkey’s southern border.

One YPG/PKK terrorist aiming to disrupt peace and security in the Operation Olive Branch zone was held before achieving any treacherous ambitions, according to the National Defense Ministry.  

Other developments in Turkey

Turkey slammed a statement by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he demanded EU sanctions against Ankara, claiming “violations” of Greek and Cypriot waters and said the EU should act on the crisis in Libya.

Turkey cannot be threatened through sanctions, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said, adding: “Statements of President Macron have no value for our country.”

He also said threats would have no result. 

Coronavirus outbreak across world

Since originating in China last December, COVID-19 has claimed more than 632,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.

More than 15.4 million cases have been reported worldwide, while nearly 9 million patients have recovered, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The US surpassed 4 million cases as infections spike there, according to Johns Hopkins.

In all, the Maryland-based university recorded 4,034,878 positive tests, and 144,242 COVID-19 deaths. It reported 1,233,269 recoveries.

France’s death toll stands at 30,172, with infections at 178,336 and recoveries at 79,957, according to statistics updated daily by its health ministry.

Spanish officials reported the largest daily spike in new COVID-19 cases in months with data showing daily cases reached 2,615, twice the number from Wednesday.

Within the last week, labs confirmed 10,220 new infections. That doubles the weekly rate from seven days ago and is four times the weekly diagnoses from two weeks ago.

Despite falling coronavirus test numbers, Bangladesh remains among the 20 worst-hit countries, according to data by Johns Hopkins.

There were 2,856 positive cases Thursday, raising the number of infections to 216,110. With the new additions, Bangladesh has now passed France’s tally and is 17th for the most coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, Uganda on announced the country’s first fatality from the novel coronavirus.

Global developments

China launched its first mission to Mars, named Tianwen-1.

The mission was launched on a Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern Hainan province.

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