Turkey logs highest daily rise in COVID-19 cases this year

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Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Istanbul

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey recorded 14,941 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Friday, the highest daily rise this year, less than two weeks after President Tayyip Erdogan announced an easing of curbs.

The daily tally has roughly doubled from a month ago, a rise authorities have blamed on new variants of the coronavirus.

Erdogan announced a partial opening of schools, cafes and restaurants last week. Turkey also eased weekend lockdowns, after the number of new cases fell below 10,000 daily.

Friday's data showed 66 people died due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 29,356.

The total number of cases rose to 2,850,930 as of Friday, the data showed.

Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has administered about 10.87 million vaccine doses in a campaign that began in mid-January.

More than 7.88 million people have received a first shot and nearly 2.99 million a second dose of the vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech.

Turkey aims to vaccinate 50 million people by the Autumn.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Andrew Heavens)