Turkey, bus stations at full capacity

Coronavirus: Turkey exits a 17-day lockdown today

Several restrictions and curfews remain until June. Mass return to big cities like Istanbul causes traffic jams, and bus tickets run out.

Turkey emerged today from a total lockdown of more than two weeks – it began on June 29 – and began a transition period towards a normalisation that will last until June 1, in which several restrictions will remain despite the daily contagions have managed to drop from 60,000 a day at the end of April, to just over 10,000 cases a day now.

Although confinement has proven to be useful in slowing the advance of the pandemic and the collapse of ICUs, experts nevertheless warn that a relaxation of measures by citizens after the lockdown could lead to infections soaring again in the next few weeks.

For now and as part of the progressive normalisation measures until June, malls may open from 10 in the morning to 8 in the afternoon during weekdays, although they will remain closed on weekends. Restaurants and cafes will continue to serve take out food from 7 am to 8 pm in weekdays, and from 7 am to 12 pm on weekends.

As for the curfews that prohibit going outside except in justified cases or to buy food, they will be maintained in weekdays from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., while they will last all weekend from 9:00 p.m. on Friday until 5:00 on Monday. Intercity travel is again allowed as long as it is not done during curfew hours; in addition, restrictions are eliminated for people over 65 years of age or for those under 18 years of age, if they have received two doses of the vaccine.

Agglomerations on roads and bus stations

The end of the lockdown and many of the restrictions has led to the collapse of the bus stations, where most companies have run out of tickets due to the fact that many people are returning to large cities such as Istanbul, Ankara or İzmir after the mass exodus experienced at the end of April.

The return both by bus and by car of this entire population that left the big cities just before the lockdown, has caused big traffic jams in the main routes of entry to cities like Istanbul.

Meanwhile, at bus stations, companies confirm that almost all buses are full, and demand is expected to continue growing due to the end of lockdown in Turkey. “There are no tickets left for buses to Istanbul for the next 2-3 days,” said the representative of a bus company.