2 million people hit roads after travel curbs lifted
Fevzi Kızılkoyun - ANKARA
Nearly 2 million people have traveled between provinces after the government lifted a ban to restrict mobility as part of its efforts to take the spread of the coronavirus under control.
Travelers have mostly flocked to the coastal provinces in the Aegean and Mediterranean provinces, which are popular holiday destinations. Schools remain closed due to anti-virus measures and the authorities recently allowed youth under age 18 to travel with their families, explaining the rush to the coastal towns and provinces.
The provinces of Antalya and Muğla are seeing a huge number of visitors, particularly from Istanbul and the capital Ankara. Cars from those provinces form long queues to enter the popular holiday destination Bodrum in Muğla which prompted the police and local gendarmerie to tighten controls at the town entrance. Units from the Health Ministry are also measuring the temperatures of travelers at checkpoints.
The airports in those provinces are also getting crowded with holidaymakers after local carriers, including Turkish Airlines, have resumed domestic flights as of June 1.
The other major destination for travelers is the country’s Black Sea region. Particularly, the eastern part of the region is seeing a larger number of people coming from Istanbul.
The authorities also reported that travel permits have been issued to more than 910,000 people, who are at the age of 65 and above and their companions, after the government eased travel restrictions for this age group. The elderly are now allowed to make a one-way trip and stay in their destinations for at least one month before returning. According to the officials, the elderly people mostly chose to go to their hometown villages, summer houses and less populous provinces.
This week, Turkey moved into the normalization phase, opening restaurants, cafes, beaches, museums and parks after health authorities said the spread of the virus was slowing.