Turkey imposes partial curfew for citizens older than 65
“As of midnight today, the citizens aged 65 and over and also people who suffer from chronic illnesses are restricted to go out of their homes and to walk in open areas such as parks, gardens,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
New measures against COVID-19
Turkey extended measures against the coronavirus on March 21, suspended flights with 46 more countries and banning picnics and barbecues, as the number of cases has roughly doubled every day for a week.
Ankara had already banned flights with 22 countries, closed schools, cafes and bars, banned mass prayers and indefinitely postponed matches in its main sports leagues. The new ban applies to countries including Canada and the northern part of Cyprus.
On March 21, it extended the ban to picnics and barbecues, as well as barbershops, hair and beauty salons.
The Turkish health ministry said all hospitals, including private ones, will have to admit and treat suspected patients of new coronavirus.
The ministry also declared any hospital with at least two specialists in infectious diseases, pulmonology or internal diseases as a coronavirus pandemic hospital in order to ease the burden on health institutions and personnel.
The government also said all meetings and activities, related to science, culture and art would be postponed until the end of April to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Separately, hotels and other accommodation facilities must now get detailed information on where their guests recently traveled to and their future travel plans, the health ministry said
This information could be critical in handling possible future cases, the ministry said.
In restaurants, to reduce the risk of infection, tables must be set at least one meter apart, it added.
If nursing home and elderly care center residents show symptoms consistent with coronavirus, all the residents will be closely monitored, it said.
Erdoğan urges social distancing
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late on March 20 that Turkey is working "day and night" to minimize the effects of the coronavirus in the country.
"We are running a relentless fight against the coronavirus,” he said.
“This virus mostly affects the elderly and those with chronic diseases," Erdoğan said in a tweet. He also posted a voice message addressed to the nation.
He asked the nation to take steps to protect against the virus but also to be mindful of elderly relatives or those who have chronic diseases.
"You should increase the social distance as much as possible, and most importantly, you should never go out of the house unless you have to. In this process, you should carefully follow the statements of our official institutions and organizations, especially our Health Ministry," Erdoğan said, stressing on taking hygienic measures.
The use of internet technology and telecommunication should be applied when communicating with relatives and other activities, he said.
He also asked that prayers be performed at home and not to accept visitors as much as possible – spending time at home is more important.
"On behalf of myself and my nation, I would like to express my gratitude to all my citizens who stand by us and act with a sense of responsibility in this struggle with the coronavirus. I hope we will come through these hard days together, God willing."
The voice message is being sent to citizens, especially those older than 50, by calling mobile phones through three telecommunication operators in Turkey.