The coronavirus outbreak is not over yet and preventive measures will continue to be taken in the second phase of the emergency response, said a top doctor in Turkey.

Speaking about Turkey’s steps to ease lockdown measures starting Monday, Dr. Selma Metintas, who is a a member of the country’s Coronavirus Science Council, said one has to maintain social distance.

“Everywhere we go, we have to continue observing social distance. Social distance is the new normal. Even though malls will reopen, we shouldn’t allow dense crowds, and be in them. We need to wash hands frequently, that is also our new normal,” Metintas said.

Turkey on Monday has opened barbers, coiffeurs, and shopping malls as COVID-19 deaths and infections show a steady decline and recoveries rise.

So far, the death toll from the novel virus in Turkey stands at 3,786, with 138,657 total cases. However, a whopping 92,691 people have gone on to make a full recovery.

Reiterating the importance of using face masks, the doctor said we can use cloth masks in our daily lives, but if we are going to a hospital, or will be in contact with someone with COVID-19, we should use medical masks.

Carrying disinfectants, colognes, and refraining from touching our face should also be our daily routine from now on, she added.

“If case numbers continuously drop for at least 14 days, while the number of tests are increasing, that means we can ease daily life restrictions and continue normalization. But this does not mean going back to life before COVID-19. Until a vaccine is found, measures will always continue on different scales,” added the doctor.

More than 4.1 million cases have been reported in 187 countries and regions since the virus emerged in China last December. The US and Europe are the world’s hardest-hit areas.

A significant number of COVID-19 patients – more than 1.4 million — have recovered, but the disease has also claimed 283,000 lives so far, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Firdevs Bulut

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