Turkey to impose four-day lockdown
Turkey will impose a four-day lockdown between April 23 and April 27 on 31 provinces as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The dates coincide with a national holiday and the beginning of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, with the curfew on the first two days set to allow local grocers and markets to open for citizens, while the food delivery services of restaurants will also be allowed, according to a circular issued by the Interior Ministry.
The circular said the curfew will cover Turkey’s 30 largest provinces by population, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, and Zonguldak, where respiratory diseases are commonplace.
Bakeries, hospitals, pharmacies and workplaces producing health products and medical supplies will continue to operate during the curfew. The opening hours of markets and grocery stores will be extended to 8 a.m.–11 p.m. on April 21-22 due to the beginning of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
On April 23 and April 24, people will be allowed to go to the nearest markets and grocery stores from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on condition that they do not use their vehicles. Between the same hours, markets and grocery stores will also be able to deliver to houses/addresses. The statement said markets and grocery stores will be closed on April 25 and 26.
People who work in certain sectors will be exempted during the curfew. During the lockdown, newspapers will be delivered to homes with the newspapers’ vehicles. Companies that sell bottled drinking water and gas cylinders will also be open during the lockdown. People working for emergency call centers, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and VEFA Social Support Group will be exempt from the curfew.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said April 20 that Turkey plans to extend the weekend curfew this week in 31 provinces.
April 23 is a public holiday commemorating the foundation of Turkey’s parliament when the country also observes National Sovereignty Day and Children’s Day every year.
For the first time since lockdowns began, Turkey will be imposing a 48-hour curfew in 31 provinces across the country as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Erdoğan's remarks came after a Cabinet meeting that was held via video link for the fourth time.
“We will continue to impose weekend curfews for some more time without hindering agriculture, health, and food services, as well as basic production activities,” he said.
Erdoğan noted that the aim is to impose measures in the most meticulous manner and to decrease the level of epidemic in Turkey to a level that will allow returning to normal life after Eid.
Medical gear production
"Our efforts to produce intense care unit ventilators have born successful result," Erdoğan stressed and said a total of 5,000 devices are scheduled to be produced by the end of May.
"As of today, we have received 100 ventilators [from producers]," he said.
Also highlighting the remarkable progress in the domestic production of protective health equipment, Erdogan said: "The development process of nanofiber-based filters especially for the N95 and N99 masks, which are vital for health personnel, have been completed, tests have started. We are moving on to production as soon as possible."
Erdoğan said Turkey will also increase its capacity in university hospitals and the number of both medical staff and health care workers.
Speaking about the importance of investment in young people, he said: "We are also investing in the software sector. We will initiate a program aiming to educate 1 million software experts in three years. This project will be prepared by our Treasury, and trainings will be carried out online."
Support for the Libyan government
Erdoğan also called on the international community once again to support the legitimate government in Libya against “putschist Haftar”.
Libya’s U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on April 18 launched an operation to recapture Tarhuna, a town of strategic value for warlord Khalifa Haftar and his last major stronghold in the area surrounding the capital Tripoli.
Tarhuna is a major focal point for Haftar’s forces in their onslaught against Tripoli as well as for their supply lines from Al-Jufra airbase.
The GNA has been under attack by Haftar's forces since last April, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.
Turkey's fight with terrorism
Erdoğan said Turkey's fight against the PKK terror group continues amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"We have neutralized 38 terrorists in the past two weeks. We will continue our fight against them," he added.