People mostly heed rules in weekend lockdown
A 48-hour curfew that was imposed in the country’s 31 provinces where around 64 million people live ended as of midnight on April 10, with a majority of residents in those provinces having abided by the lockdown regulations.
The Interior Ministry, however, has reported that legal and administrative actions have been taken against a total of 20,398 citizens who violated the curfew rules.
The ministry added that security forces will continue to inspect supermarkets, open marketplaces, and crowded streets and other public spaces to see if the social distancing rules and other measures introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak are observed throughout the week.
The government imposed its second weekend stay-at-home order after the country’s first curfew was implemented on April 11-12.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier that the measure would continue “as needed.”
Before the first curfew, 35 percent of the coronavirus cases in Turkey were among people 65 years old or older, while the percentage had since dropped to 18 percent, according to the latest official statistics.
As soon as the curfew was lifted, people in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district rushed to ATMs to withdraw money and markets for shopping, Demirören News Agency reported.
However, supermarkets and grocery stores are not allowed to operate after 9:00 p.m., thus the police fined those stores which opened for business.
In the capital Ankara, people hit the streets with their cars and toured around the city. The police checked if those motorists have the necessary permissions.
In the western province of Bursa, streets became crowded with car traffic and people swarmed liquor and tobacco shops as well as markets, forming long lines in front of those stores.
Consumers queuing up before those shops largely heeded social distancing rules.
In the southern Adana province, which is famous for its cuisine, people rushed to the kebab restaurants first thins as soon as the curfew ended.
Istanbul, the country’s largest city with a population of around 16 million, saw people and cars fill the streets on April 20. The traffic congestion in the city climbed to 13 percent in the early hours of yesterday from 1 percent during the weekend lockdown.
The traffic jam on the 15 July Martyrs’ Bridge, which connects the Asian and European side of the mega city, was visible during the morning rush hour.
The curfew ended, but the strict measures and precautions, which the government had gradually introduced gradually to take the outbreak under control, will remain in place.
For instance, the movements of those under the age of 20 and above 65 and people with underlying medical conditions will continue to be restricted.
Schools, malls, cafes and restaurants also remain closed while nearly all gatherings, including congregational prayers, sports games and other public events such as conferences, panels, exhibitions, meetings, workshops and conventions remain suspended.
On the orders of the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry, sanitation teams are frequently disinfecting public places, buildings and public transport vehicles.
Supermarkets are not allowing customers in all at the same time as shoppers get in line in front of the stores, staying at least one meter from each other. Those venues will be open only between 9.am. and 9 p.m.