Turkey tightens measures, reinstates weekend curfews

Turkey tightens measures, reinstates weekend curfews

Turkey tightens measures, reinstates weekend curfews

Facing a growing number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities, Turkey will continue to impose partial restrictions to stem the virus’s spread, the president said on March 20.

The nationwide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. will continue, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said after a three-hour-plus cabinet meeting at the presidential complex.

As a public health measure, all restaurants and cafes in the country will operate at a maximum 50 percent capacity from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he added.

Cities under very high risk for coronavirus will have full weekend lockdowns, he said.

Out of 81 provinces in Turkey, 58 – or 80 percent of the population – are classified as under very high risk for the virus, he underlined.

The categorization of provinces as facing low, medium, high, or very high risk is based on infection rates and Turkey’s vaccination campaign, which began on Jan. 14.

The color-coded risk map of Turkey’s 81 provinces will be redone every week according to the risk situation, and the normalization practice will be updated every two weeks, he added.

During the holy month of Ramadan, gatherings for sahur and iftar meals – held before and after daytime fasting hours, respectively – are prohibited nationwide, the president said.

Additionally, weekend lockdowns will be in place across Turkey during the Muslim holy month, he added.

During Ramadan, throughout Turkey, businesses like restaurants and coffeehouses will only be open for takeaway services, he said.

Ramadan will start on April 13 and end on May 13.

On the country’s successful vaccination campaign, Erdoğan pointed to a drop in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in older people after over 10 million coronavirus jabs that have been administered.

More than 8.8 million people have received their first doses, while over 6.8 million have completed a two-dose course.