Turkey to impose limited weekend curfews as virus cases rise

Turkey to impose limited weekend curfews as virus cases rise

Turkey to impose limited weekend curfews as virus cases rise

The Turkish government has announced a raft of measures including partial curfews on weekends, limited business hours for cafes and restaurants and shutting down cinemas in a move to curb the spread of COVID-19, which has already killed nearly 12,000 people in the country.

“If the upward trend in the pandemic continues, measures will inevitably return to the agenda “that have had painful consequences for all of us,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov. 17 after a cabinet meeting.

Following Erdoğan’s announcement of the set of curbs, the Interior Ministry issued a circular to the governors of all 81 provinces, detailing the measures.

The curfews will be effective on weekends, but movement will be allowed between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. so as not to disrupt supply and production chains. Moreover, a partial curfew that was already in effect for people over the age of 65 has also been expanded to include those under 20, with the exception of those who have to go out for work. They can step outside their homes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week.

Malls, markets, restaurants, cafes and hairdressers will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the week but restaurants and cafes will only be open for takeaway and delivery services only.

Education will continue online until the end of the year while all sports events will continue to be played without spectators.

The ministry also said that the scope of a recently introduced ban on smoking on crowded streets, avenues, bus stops and squares could be expanded.

The new curbs will take effect from the evening of Nov. 20.

The upward trend in the spread of the virus seen in large provinces such as Istanbul, Ankara and Bursa has spread to nearly all of the country, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Nov. 18. 

“Even though we are able to confront this increase [in virus cases], we had to resort to radical measures to stop this course,” Koca added.

“If the measures are followed, I do not think additional curbs will be introduced. However, otherwise new measures will be inevitable,” he said.

Turkey registered 3,819 more COVID-19 patients over the past 24 hours, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.

Family, Labor and Social Services Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk tested positive for the novel coronavirus, she announced on Nov. 17.

“My COVID-19 test result is positive. Thank God, my general condition is well. My treatment is continuing at home,” Selçuk said on Twitter.