ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – The Turkish president announced a partial blockade during the first two weeks of the Muslim month of Ramadan to curb COVID-19 infections, as the number of infections is at a record high.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised address following the cabinet meeting that the government was once again banning long-distance travel, banning people over the age of 65 from using public transport, changing public sector working hours, and closing sports and entertainment centers. : Extending night curfews.
Schools will return to distance education, in addition to classes preparing for high school և university entrance exams. Erdo :an said that weddings, engagements and other crowded gatherings will be banned until the Muslim holiday. The Turkish leader stressed that full Iftar or Ramadan fasting dinners will not be allowed either.
The Ministry of Health on Tuesday reported 59,187 new infections in one day, the highest since the outbreak in Turkey. It also reported 273 deaths.
Turkey is now one of the worst affected countries. Infections have increased more than fivefold in a single day since March, while the number of deaths in critically ill COVID-19 patients has been steadily increasing. Turkey reports more than 34,000 COVID-19 deaths, but like many countries, experts say the official figures underestimate the death toll.
“The increase in deaths, especially in larger cities, is tightening our grip again,” Erdogan said. “Although the situation does not affect our health care system, we could not be spectators for this state of affairs.”
Turkish health professionals will challenge the lawsuit. They warned that rising tensions were creating tensions in hospitals.
The Turkish leader said the restrictions would take effect on Wednesday evening and warned of more possible measures if the new restrictions failed to reduce infections.
“If we do not achieve our target pace within two weeks, much tougher measures will be inevitable,” he said.
Erdogan wants to reduce the level of infection before the start of a possible summer tourist season in Turkey after last year’s inconsolable season.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 85% of cases in Turkey could be found in the faster-spreading version first found in Britain.
Turkish opposition parties have also blamed Erdogan, whose ruling party has staged mass political rallies across the country, ignoring government restrictions on viruses. The party denies the allegations.
In early March, Erdogan eased restrictions on COVID-19 as part of a “controlled normalization” program to minimize the impact on his country’s ailing economy. The easing took place despite doctors warning that the move was premature.
As the numbers plummeted in late March, Erdogan reaffirmed the blockade of weekends in 58 of Turkey’s 81 worst-hit provinces, closing cafes and restaurants in addition to eating out during Ramadan.
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