Turkey nears end of latest lockdown, death toll up to 4,397

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Virus Outbreak Turkey

Municipality workers disinfect the grounds of the historical Suleymaniye Mosque, in Istanbul, during the third day of Eid el-Fitr and the last day of a four-day curfew due to the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Istanbul's municipality workers disinfected several mosques which were locked down for more than six weeks and will be partly open again for prayers on Friday, May 29. The Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of gathering, was marked by a nationwide lockdown to combat the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s COVID-19 death toll reached 4,397 as of Tuesday after 28 new deaths were reported in 24 hours, according to the country's health minister.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter that Turkey also recorded 948 more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 158,762.

More than 121,500 people with the virus have recovered in Turkey, and the number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care continues to decline, according to Health Ministry statistics.

Turkey ranks ninth worldwide for number of confirmed cases, and 14th in the number of virus-related deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Experts suspect infection rates globally are higher than reported.

Tuesday was the final day of a four-day nationwide lockdown for Turkey’s 83 million residents. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped the stay-at-home order would be the country's last round. Erdogan is expected to ease restrictions and announce new policies later this week.

The Turkish government has relied on limited weekend and holiday lockdowns in large cities to prevent infections among most of the population and required people age 65 and above and under age 20 to stay at home.