Turkey’s 48-hour curfew ends, strict curbs remain in place

Turkey’s 48-hour curfew ends, strict curbs remain in place

Turkey’s 48-hour curfew ends, strict curbs remain in place

İHA Photo

Turkey has lifted a 48-hour curfew in 31 provinces across the country as of midnight on April 12 that had been implemented as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Nearly 64 million spent the weekend in lockdown in those cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, while the Interior Ministry said citizens largely observed the weekend curfew, which began at midnight on April 10.

However, the ministry also noted that legal and administrative actions were taken against some 24,000 people who violated the curfew rules.

The streets of Istanbul and Ankara, the country’s two largest cities by population, were calm, main squares and parks of the cities saw fewer people.

Apparently, residents in the two provinces are heeding calls from the authorities to stay at home in the face of the risks from the outbreak.

However, the scene was rather different in the southern province of Antalya. People there swarmed to open marketplaces yesterday to buy fruits and vegetables, ignoring the social distancing rules, even though most of them were seen wearing protective face masks.

Penalties for violators

Meanwhile, the ministry also said that Turkey will penalize those who violated the two-day curfew.

In a statement, the ministry said a total of 18,770 people had so far violated the restrictions and were subject to "administrative and procedural penalties."

The specifics of the penalties were not mentioned.


Curbs remain in place

The 48-hour curfew ended, however, 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.

The government has already restricted intercity travel. Only people who obtain permission from special commissions are entitled to move between the cities.

The authorities have also introduced measures for open marketplaces. Accordingly, in marketplaces offering staple foods or cleaning materials, the sale of non-essential items will not be allowed. Fresh vegetables and fruits sold unpackaged in marketplaces must be packaged by the sellers, avoiding customer contact with the items.

At least three meters of distance must be left between stalls to reduce the density in marketplaces.

All those measures will remain in place and not be relaxed as the country’s fight against the deadly outbreak continues.