ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) — Turkey on Sunday reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Health Ministry data.

The 318 deaths confirmed in 24 hours took the country’s total pandemic death toll to 35,926. The Health Ministry also reported 55,802 new confirmed cases, pushing Turkey’s total closer to 4.3 million.

Weekly data also released Sunday showed the northwest province of Canakkale with Turkey’s highest infection rate at 962.98 cases per 100,000 people.

Turkey has seen rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths since the government eased virus-control restrictions at the beginning start of March, when daily confirmed cases averaged below 10,000. The government has blamed the rising numbers on coronavirus variants.

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