ISTANBUL —
Turkey’s health minister said Wednesday that the country recorded 34 coronavirus-related deaths since the day before, bringing the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,431.

Fahrettin Koca also tweeted that Turkey confirmed 1,035 new virus cases in the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases in Turkey now stands at 159,797, although more than 121,500 of those involve people since reported as recovered.

A Johns Hopkins University tally ranks Turkey ninth worldwide for number of virus cases, although experts believe the rate of infections globally could be much higher than reported. Turkey’s daily average of new confirmed cases has hovered around 1,000 this week.

The Turkish government has begun easing some of the restrictions it imposed to control infections, including permitting the reopening of shopping malls and hairdressers. Intercity trains are scheduled to resume partial service Thursday, and mosques will allow congregations for two daytime prayers starting Friday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to announce new measures Thursday.

The health minister said more freedom will require following recommended strategies to prevent exposure, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

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