Curfew imposed on senior citizens may be eased

Curfew imposed on senior citizens may be eased

Nuray Babacan – ANKARA
Curfew imposed on senior citizens may be eased

Turkey may consider easing a curfew that was imposed on people aged 65 or older in the coming days.

The restriction on the movement of the senior citizens, which was first enforced on March 21, covers some 7.5 million people. It was introduced as part of measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The issue of relaxing the curfew was recently discussed among officials at ministries as well as a recent central executive meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the authorities seek ways to ease the possible psychological impact of the curfew on seniors citizens and give them some respite.

There have been requests from the public for the easing of the restriction which also prompted the authorities to take some action to this end.

According to the plans, which are yet to be finalized, people aged 65 or older could be allowed to go out for three hours during weekends when a general curfew takes effect. They will be required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told officials that Turkey will be able to take a sigh of relief after the holy fasting month of Ramadan which ends on May 23. But the outlook may even improve further after the second half of June, according to the minister.

He also underlined the strategic importance of the field hospital, which is being developed on the site of Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, in the fight against the coronavirus.

“Planes will be able to land here. It is an advantage that we have a hospital at an airport. We also consider further developing health tourism and this facility may serve this purpose as well in the future,” Koca remarked.

Officials also discussed in those meetings the issue of face mask production and their distribution. The government is distributing protective masks for free.

However, the idea of private firms selling masks while free distribution continues has been floated.

The officials argue that a price cap could be introduced on face masks. The issue will be further considered before making a final decision on this matter.