Istanbul, scenes of panic during curfew

Bakeries will be open during the curfew in Turkey

The government wants to avoid the scenes that occurred during the previous curfew, but in cities like Istanbul thousands of people crowd streets and markets for last-minute shopping.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry recalled on Thursday that bakeries will remain open during the curfew that will take effect at midnight on Friday and will last throughout the weekend, in an attempt to prevent images of thousands of people waiting on the street to buy bread during the curfew enacted a week ago, from repeating.

The 48-hour curfew to try to curb coronavirus infections will take effect at midnight from Friday to Saturday in the country’s 30 most populous provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, as well as in Zonguldak province.

The rest of the provinces included in the measure are Adana, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Muğ , Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon and Van.

During the curfew, only bakeries, manufacturers of medical devices, public and private hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and reception centres, emergency services call centres, authorised gas stations and veterinary clinics (one for every 50,000 inhabitants) may operate, as well as energy companies, mail and parcel delivery companies, and animal shelters.

Turkey already registers more than 74,000 coronavirus infections

Special commissions in charge of managing the measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, and chaired by the governor of each province, will be in charge of distributing the bread in each neighbourhood and district. Companies dedicated to the distribution of bottled water and gas cylinders will also be allowed to operate during the curfew. In addition, newspaper delivery vehicles will operate.

Despite the authorities’ recommendation to stay home, as the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey now exceeds 74,000 and the deceased reaches 1,643, thousands of people took to the streets on Thursday especially in big cities like Istanbul, crowding markets and in many cases without keeping the safety distance, to make last minute purchases before the curfew. Many citizens also report abusive food prices.