Long lockdown triggers exodus from big cities
Traffic was hardly moving on highways in Istanbul, a city home to some 16 million residents, and the scenes were no different in resort towns.
The country’s lockdown, which began yesterday evening at 7 p.m., will last until May 17.
During the lockdown, intercity travel will be subject to permission from authorities. That is why people rushed to leave big cities before the deadline. People also formed long lines before the offices of district governors to obtain such travel authorizations.
Travel permissions could also be obtained online via e-Devlet and the “Alo 199” hotline.
Only those with a reasonable excuse are allowed to commute between cities during the 17-day lockdown, which also covers the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Many people traveled to popular holiday destinations, such as Bodrum and Marmaris. However, experts warned that the lockdown should not be seen as an opportunity to take a holiday and that it is meant to curb the spread of the virus.
They cautioned that large crowds in resort towns and family gatherings in homes could provide a breeding ground for the virus if people ignore the anti-virus rules.
During the lockdown, all businesses will be closed with certain exceptions.
Supermarkets will operate six days a week but be closed on Sundays, while restaurants and cafes will only offer delivery services.