Wearing face masks made mandatory in 10 cities
Turkey has made it mandatory for people to wear protective face masks in 10 provinces as the country has rolled out the first phase of the normalization program.
The residents of Adıyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bartın, Denizli, Düzce, Kastamonu, Muğla and Uşak are now required to wear face masks when they go out.
The decision regarding mandatory face masks were recommended by the provincial hygiene boards in the respective provinces.
Moreover, the provincial hygiene boards recommended that people should wear protective face masks in crowded streets and marketplaces in the provinces of Gaziantep, Adana and İzmir.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey stands at more than 143,000, with the death toll from the disease nearing 4,000.
More than 100,000 people have recovered from COVID-19.
However, in nine provinces, namely, Düzce, Uşak, Batman, Mardin, Rize, Gaziantep, Van, Kars and Zonguldak, the virus cases have spiked.
Over the past week, residents in those provinces had reportedly ventured outside more due to the warmer weather, mostly ignoring social distancing rules.
The residents in those cities also flouted rules to wear masks.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government is considering possible actions to take, including a four-day nationwide curfew during Eid al-Fitr at the end of May, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
The issue of whether a curfew during the Ramadan feast should be imposed or not was discussed at the latest central executive committee meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 12, chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hürriyet daily has reported.
Senior officials told Erdoğan that surveys show the public supports imposing curfew during Eid al-Fitr, which will be observed from May 24 to May 26.
At the meeting, officials floated the idea of declaring the curfew depending on recommendations from the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board.
The normalization program was also one of the issues discussed at the gathering.
The government this week eased some of the measures initially introduced to slow the spread of the coronavirus, by allowing the opening of shopping malls, barber shops, hair salons and some non-essential stores.
Turkey has already declared a four-day curfew starting on May 16 and ending after May 19, which is a national holiday.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on May 13 that the country has registered a constant recovery in week five since the first COVID-19 case was reported and that the pandemic is under control.