ISTANBUL (AP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that the country has tightened its epidemic restrictions to date, closing businesses, schools, restricting travel and allowing people to stay home for almost three weeks from Thursday to fight COVID-19 infections and deaths.
Until now, Turkey has imposed partial blockades to curb infections and keep businesses afloat, as it faces a significant economic downturn.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that all businesses would have to stop until the interior ministry announced otherwise. Those released from the blockade are expected to include agriculture, healthcare and hygiene enterprises. Supermarkets will be open except on Sundays. Long-distance travel will require permits և Schools will switch to online education. The events will run until May 17 and include the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“During these dates, there will be unrestricted restrictions on going out on the streets,” Erdogan said, although exceptions were expected for shopping, visiting hospitals or doctors for key workers going to work. Turkey used to instruct people to stay home in the evenings and on weekends.
Erdogan said there would be a “heavy price” for education without stricter restrictions – low infection rates, tourism, trade – education. He said the goal was to increase the number of infections to 5,000 a day. Confirmed daily infections totaled 37,312 on Monday, up from a record 63,000 in mid-April.
Infections և Deaths increased after Turkey lifted partial restrictions in March as the government attempted a “controlled settlement” effort to classify Turkey’s provinces into four risk levels. That attempt failed, the virus spread to cities and regions, contributing to mutations that made it more contagious.
In a country of 83 million, more than 4.6 million infections have been reported, for a total of 38,711 deaths.
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