Turkey to impose four-day lockdown for New Year’s
“We have started to see the positive effects of the restrictions and other measures thanks to the sacrifices the public is making,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 14 following a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
Besides other restrictions, such as allowing restaurants to provide only delivery and takeaway services, weeknight curfews and full lockdown on weekends are presently in place in Turkey.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca recently said that as a result of those restrictions the number of daily virus cases dropped as much as 30 percent in Istanbul and İzmir, the country’s third largest city, and Ankara saw a 40 percent decline in cases.
Experts have suggested that the full impact of the curbs is yet to be seen.
“People should not see the lockdown for New Year’s as an opportunity for a long holiday. This would be wrong and such a behavior will result in the further spread of the virus,” said Professor Mustafa Necmi İlhan from the Health Ministry’s Social Sciences Board.
He proposed a limited restriction on intercity travel for New Year’s to prevent this potential risk.
“Traveling to and from the provinces with high virus cases could be restricted with certain exceptions,” İlhan said.
He also stressed that the impact of the current measures will be seen in eight to 10 days. “Let’s see tomorrow or on Dec. 17 what impact the weekend lockdown have made. The next three to four months will be crucial in the fight against the outbreak,” İlhan added.
In a tweet on Dec. 14, Koca also said the positive impact of restrictions would be clearer soon. But he warned that hospitals are still experiencing a heavy caseload.
Urging the public to follow safety measures, Koca said: “Let’s protect our loved ones by staying away from indoor and crowded places.”