Turkey declares partial lockdown during Ramadan
Turkey announced a partial lockdown during the first two weeks of the Muslim month of Ramadan to curb COVID-19 infections as the number of infections hit a record high.
Speaking to reporters following a three-hour cabinet meeting on April 13, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the government was re-imposing bans on intercity travel, barring people over 65 and under 18 from using public transport, re-adjusting public sector working hours, closing sports and leisure centers and expanding the length of night-time curfews.
Under the new restrictions, the weekday curfew will start at 7.00 p.m. instead of 9.00 p.m. and last until 5 a.m., during which inter-city travel will also be banned except for necessary and urgent situations.
The restrictions on public transportation for people over 65 and under 18 will be in effect again.
Cafes, restaurants and teahouses will also only provide home delivery and takeaway services, while wedding halls, sports centers and game halls will be closed until the end of the Eid holiday marking the end of Ramadan in thecountry.
Erdoğan also stressed that crowded iftars, or Ramadan fast-breaking dinners, would also not be allowed.
Schools will return to distance education, apart from classes preparing for high school and university entrance exams.
With its stricter measures during Ramadan’s first two weeks, Turkey aims to significantly reduce the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19, Erdoğan said, adding more rigid measures could be imposed if progress was not made in the first two weeks of the holy month.
“If we don’t achieve the improvement at the rate we target during the two-week period, much harsher measures will become inevitable,” Erdoğan said.
Single-day infections have increased more than five-fold in the country since March, while the number of deaths and seriously ill COVID-19 patients has also been steadily increasing.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 85 percent of the cases in Turkey can be traced to the faster-spreading variant that was first detected in Britain.
Meanwhile, a total of 425,430 teachers and school workers in Turkey have been included in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign so far, according to the country’s education minister.
“The vaccination of teachers and school staff in the priority group is ongoing,” Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said on Twitter.
He said teachers, psychological counselors, school administrators, and staff in primary and pre-school institutions can get an appointment through the mobile application e-Nabız (e-Pulse) to receive their jabs.
On Jan. 14, Turkey began a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19 starting with health care workers along with top officials to encourage public confidence in the vaccines.
According to the Health Ministry’s official figures, Turkey has so far administered nearly 19.3 million coronavirus vaccine jabs across the country.
Over 11.5 million people have received their first doses of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, while second vaccine doses were administered to nearly 7.72 million people.