ISTANBUL - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced an end to the requirement for wearing protective masks at indoor venues, ending the most enduring ban related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said, mask use will be in place in mass transit and hospitals, "until the number of daily cases drops below 1,000."

His statement followed a meeting of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

The move follows similar actions by European countries, which lifted the mask mandate partially or entirely, and Erdoğan pointed out that those countries did so as the pandemic was "no longer a global threat."