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

– Developments in Turkey, coronavirus pandemic and other news

Turkey has administered nearly 67.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January, according to figures released Monday.

The country continues its intensive vaccination campaign to curb the virus’s spread as everyone 18 and over is eligible for vaccine shots.

According to Health Ministry data, nearly 39.75 million people have gotten their first dose, while over 23.5 million have received their second jabs as well.

Meanwhile, Turkey on Monday criticized Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s remarks that Turkey is a “more suitable place” for Afghan refugees.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they read his statement with “astonishment.”

“First of all, Turkey is not a country neighboring Afghanistan, as Chancellor Kurz stated,” the statement said.

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Kurz said that Turkey is “a more suitable place” for Afghan refugees than Germany, Austria or Sweden.

The Taliban have increased control over many parts of Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, which triggered a new refugee flow from the region.

A rich, 30-meter-high archaeological mound in southeastern Turkey dating back some 8,000 years has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The decision to add the Arslantepe Mound was taken during the Extended 44th UNESCO World Heritage Committee online session in Fuzhou, China, said a ministry statement.

Arslantepe – meaning “Lion Hill” – has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2014, the statement reiterated, calling it one of Turkey’s earliest religious and civil sites.

– COVID-19

More than 3.88 billion coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered worldwide so far, with Turkey ranking among the top 10 countries for jabs given, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

China, where the coronavirus originated in late 2019, ranks first globally with more than 1.55 billion vaccine jabs given across the country. India follows it with nearly 433.2 million jabs, according to available data.

Meanwhile, the French parliament early Monday greenlighted a health bill mandating vaccination for health care professionals and a digital health pass providing proof of being virus-free to enter public places including restaurants, cafes and trains.

Following heated discussions and several modifications to the original text in the upper and lower houses of parliament, the National Assembly late past midnight voted 156 to 60 to definitively adopt the bill relating to the management of the health crisis.

UK citizens who have been fully vaccinated overseas will be allowed to travel to the UK without having the need to quarantine, as the government is set to recognize vaccinations administered overseas, the government announced Monday.

Under the present travel restrictions and traffic light system, only those who have been fully inoculated by the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK and have returned from countries under the green and/or amber lists can avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine in a hotel but must self-isolate for 10 days in their homes.

New York City, the most populous city in the United States, will require all municipal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face weekly testing, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The measures are being enacted for the city’s 300,000 municipal workers, including teachers, police officers and firefighters, amid fears over the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant.

The mayor pointed to the India-origin variant in announcing the new measures, saying it has “thrown us a curveball” as the US attempts to return to a semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy.

– Developments across world

Tunisian President Kais Saied imposed a month-long nationwide curfew Monday, a day after dismissing the prime minister and freezing parliament.

According to a written statement from the Tunisian Presidency, Saied issued a decree banning people and vehicles from streets from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. starting Monday evening until Aug. 27.

The decree also bans gatherings of more than three people on public roads and in squares.

Saied also suspended work at public institutions except for the army and police for a period of two days as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, at least 57 irregular migrants drowned in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday.

“A shipwreck off Libya claims at least 57 lives today after a boat capsized near (the port city of) Khums,” Safa Msehli, spokesperson for the IOM, announced on Twitter.

At least 20 women and two children were among those who drowned, Msehli said, citing the survivors brought to shore by fishermen and the coast guard.

Libya has become a crucial departure point for irregular migrants trying to get to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts within their home countries.

In a meeting Monday aimed at strengthening cooperation between the US and Iraq, the leaders of the two nations discussed a range of issues, including the fight against Daesh/ISIS, climate initiatives, energy, education and combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi “committed to a continued security partnership to ensure that ISIS can never resurge,” said the White House in a statement.

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