Stepping up measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Turkey’s capital is moving kindergartens and other early education classes to a virtual basis through the new year, local officials said Sunday.

Early-age distance learning will start this Tuesday, Dec.1 and run until Jan. 4, the Ankara Provincial Governor’s Office said in a statement.

On Nov. 20, a partial weekend curfew and other restrictions – including most education going virtual – were introduced nationwide in Turkey to help stem the virus’ spread.

On Saturday, Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, announced its preschools too would go online through Jan. 4.

As of Saturday, Turkey confirmed nearly 488,000 patients afflicted by the virus and more than 13,300 deaths. A total of 396,227 patients have recovered, according to Health Ministry data.

The pandemic has claimed more than 1.45 million lives in 191 countries and regions since last December.

More than 62.36 million cases have been reported worldwide, with nearly 40 million recoveries, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University.

While the US, India, and Brazil remain the worst-hit countries in terms of the number of cases, Europe is in the grip of a large second wave of infections.​​​​​​​

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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