Turkey eases lockdown as infections fall towards March levels


Turkey began easing a lockdown on the population on Monday, as daily infections reached the lowest level in two and a half months.

The government has lifted day time curfews, but will continue to impose overnight and weekend lockdowns until the beginning of June, according to an Interior Ministry directive published on Sunday.

The government introduced tighter restrictions on April 29 in a

so-called “full closure” of the population. The steps included shuttering non-essential businesses, which excluded all manufacturing companies, a ban on intercity travel, barring the sale of alcohol and closing down schools.

Citizens will not be allowed to leave their homes between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays, and over the entire weekend until June 1, aside from to meet basic shopping needs, according to the Interior Ministry.

The authorities will not impose extra curfew restrictions on weekdays for citizens over the age of 65 who have been fully vaccinated and those below the age of 18. But they will not be permitted to use public transport.

The government also lifted a ban on intercity travel during non-curfew hours. All students will receive their education via distance learning, except for 8th and 12th grade students and pre-school pupils.

Restaurants will only serve customers on weekdays via deliveries and take-aways between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and via take-aways between 8 p.m. and midnight. Only takeaway services will be permitted at weekends.

Cafes, internet cafes, coffee houses, tea gardens, swimming pools, gyms and cinemas will be closed. Shopping malls will be open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Turkey registered 10,512 new infections of COVID-19 on Sunday, the lowest number since a previous lockdown was eased on March 1, Health Ministry data showed.

The number of daily infections surged to a record of more than 63,000 in mid-April. Testing for the virus has also declined in recent weeks.

Total cases of COVID-19 in Turkey have reached 5.11 million, the fifth highest globally after the United States, India, Brazil and France. Fatalities totalled 44,760 with 223 deaths reported on Sunday.



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