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 and other developments in Turkey

Turkey has administered more than 26.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine since launching a mass vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, according to the health ministry’s official figures.

More than 15.3 million people have received their first doses, while over 11.4 million have been fully vaccinated.

The Health Ministry confirmed 11,937 cases, including 916 asymptomatic patients in the past 24 hours.

As many as 10,125 more patients won the battle against the virus, taking the number of recoveries past 4.97 million.

The nationwide death toll stands at 45,186, with 203 more fatalities.

German pharmaceutical company BioNTech’s CEO Ugur Sahin will virtually attend a meeting of Turkey’s Coronavirus Science Board later this week, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

Koca also reiterated that the country reached an agreement with BioNTech to acquire 90 million vaccine doses, noting that at least 30 million jabs will be delivered by June, while the rest are set to arrive by September.

The number of infections in Turkey has dropped 72% after a 17-day full lockdown which started April 29 and ended early Monday, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from the Health Ministry’s official statements.

Senior Turkish officials and politicians reiterated the country’s support for Palestinians against Israeli aggression.

“Under the leadership of our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan], and with the power vested in us by our parliament, we will never give up supporting the Palestinian cause,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told lawmakers in parliament.

Parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop held a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf

regarding Palestine and repeated Turkey’s position that “immediate and concrete steps” must be taken to halt Israeli attacks.

“Around 300 people have lost their lives, there are children among them. This is a massacre by Israel. This is happening in the 21st century,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told his party’s parliamentary group.

Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) warned that Israeli aggression against Palestinians could trigger a global or regional war.

Turkish defense giant ASELSAN said flight tests of the micro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Saka were successfully conducted.

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler met US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley in Brussels.

Turkey’s birth rate continues to fall with the country’s statistical authority, TurkSat, announcing that nearly 1.12 million new births were registered in 2020, down from 1.18 million the year before.  

Coronavirus developments worldwide

More than 1.5 billion coronavirus vaccine shots have been administered worldwide, according to figures by the Our World in Data.

China is the most vaccinated country with nearly 422 million jabs, according to website data. It is followed by the US with more than 273.55 million shots.

European states have begun to gradually relax restrictions as vaccinations pick up pace and new virus cases fall.

While coronavirus cases have recently started declining across much of Africa, seven countries — Benin, Eritrea, Eswatini, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa — are showing an increase of more than 20% in cases, according to a report.

Meanwhile, Zambia recorded its first case of the highly contagious Indian variant in a man who recently traveled from the South Asian nation, the Health Ministry reported. 

Israeli aggression against Palestinians

As a result of ongoing Israeli attacks on Palestinians that killed two more Palestinians, the death toll in the besieged enclave of Gaza rose to 217, including 63 children and 36 women.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) announced that 11 of more than 60 children killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza were enrolled in a psycho-social program to help them deal with trauma.

The Palestinian Foreign Minister sent a letter to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor’s Office, calling for an investigation into Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Amnesty International said the “shocking disregard” Israeli forces display for Palestinian lives may amount to war crimes.  

Other world developments  

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that efforts to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan by September is 20% complete.

Speaking at UN Conference on Disarmament, US Ambassador Robert Wood said Washington has worked with Russia to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for five years, but China does not want to engage in bilateral talks.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that Myanmar’s military junta has killed six more people, raising the death toll in protests against a Feb. 1 coup to 802.

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