Further curbs on travel considered

Further curbs on travel considered

Nuray Babacan - ANKARA
Further curbs on travel considered

Authorities are considering additional measures to curb intercity travel particularly in the country’s three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, in the face of the threat the coronavirus may spread from the populous provinces towards towns in other parts of Turkey.

Intercity travels are currently subject to local authorities’ special permission. Potential travelers need to apply to commissions to obtain approval.

Officials from the Interior Ministry have taken additional actions after having realized that people who do not own a car are trying to leave Istanbul on unlicensed taxis. People also use the cars of their relatives and friends to travel to other cities.

The issue was discussed at the cabinet meeting earlier this week.

The Interior Ministry decided to allow people only with their immediate family members on the same vehicle to travel. As part of the measures, people who do not use their own but others’ vehicles will not be permitted to leave the cities.

Those regulations will be implemented not only in the country’s three largest cities but in all 81 provinces. And security forces will make sure that people abide by the regulations at the check points set up at the entrances to the cities.

People who are travelling with unrelated individuals will be fined because they will be treated as if they hired an unlicensed taxi to commute.

“We are having these problems particularly in Istanbul. With those measures, we are hoping to curb the outbound traffic a great deal,” the officials said.

On a related note, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said intercity travel has declined significantly.

“Intercity travel in Turkey is down by 98.9 percent, which shows our precautions have worked. We have also quarantined 50 towns and villages in 21 cities [across the country]. We are trying to take extreme measures before it’s too late,” Soylu said on late March 31.