Turkey enters full lockdown until May 17
The lockdown, which came into force this evening at 7 p.m., will cover the remainder of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as well as three days of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
All businesses will be closed with certain exceptions, such as production facilities, food, hygiene and health-related businesses. Supermarkets will also cease operations on Sundays.
Restaurant and cafes will only offer delivery services while intercity travel will require special permission from authorities.
The government opted for a full lockdown after the daily number of coronavirus cases hit record numbers, hovering at around 60,000.
However, daily infections dropped below 50,000 after April 23.
Residents of Istanbul hit the roads to leave the country’s largest city before the lockdown took effect, causing heavy traffic.
“This is not the time for taking a holiday. People should not see the lockdown as an opportunity to go to their summer houses or resorts. This may only increase the number of infections,” warned Professor Mustafa Necmi İlhan.
The effects of the partial lockdown, which the government imposed earlier this month, have started to be seen and the impact of the full lockdown will be felt within 14 days, İlhan added.
If people stick to the rules, the number of cases will gradually decline, maybe as low as 5,000, he said.
The target is to bring the number of virus cases down to 10,000 after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
He also noted that there are more and more people aged between 40 and 65 being treated in hospitals for COVID-19.
“We need to continue with vaccinations along with restrictions. We should seize the opportunity during this period, we have to administer as many vaccines as possible,” the minister said.
He also noted that some 83 percent of people, who are entitled to a vaccine, go to hospitals to get the shot, reminding that this rate was 76 percent previously among people aged over 65.
Koca credited the efforts by “vaccine persuasion” teams in the rising rate and said that “This was not the only reason, but people also see the positive effects of the jabs. They see that those who received the shot have mild symptoms even if they contract the virus.”
The Health Ministry set up teams to convince to have the COVID-19 injection. The vaccination against the coronavirus is not mandatory in Turkey.
The country has administered over 22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it rolled out its inoculation program on Jan. 14. More than 15.9 million people have received the first dose, while over 8.6 million people have been given both doses.
To date, COVID-19 has infected 4.7 million and killed over 39,000 people in Turkey.