Istanbul, Galata bridge empty due to coronavirus

Coronavirus: Turkey to declare a curfew again next weekend

Turkish president announced that next weekend, and possibly for several more, a curfew will be decreed again. Turkey is the country with the lowest mortality rate from the coronavirus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Monday that the curfew decreed last weekend to slow the advance of the coronavirus will re-apply next weekend on April 18th and 19th, and probably also thereafter until contagions are stopped.

The announcement came after Erdoğan attended a cabinet meeting by video conference in which the fight against COVID-19 was the main item on the agenda. “As part of the fight against the epidemic, we have decided to continue the curfew on weekends as needed thereafter,” said the Turkish president after chairing the three-hour meeting.

“Our goal is to protect citizens who might otherwise succumb to temptation due to good weather, from the dangers of the coronavirus. I would thus like to announce in advance that we will impose a curfew starting at midnight on April 17th (Friday) and ending at midnight on Sunday,” Erdoğan explained.

Referring to the images lived last Friday with thousands of people trying to make last minute food purchases to pass the curfew at home, the Turkish president stressed that all necessary measures will be taken to prevent those scenes from repeating again. Precisely on Sunday Erdoğan rejected the resignation presented by his Interior Minister following criticism on the way the curfew had been announced.

Turkey is the country with the lowest mortality rate from the virus

With regard to the epidemic situation in Turkey, the Turkish president assured that the country is acting much better and earlier than other countries, and highlighted the important progress made to contain the spread of the virus, indicating for example that contrary to other countries there are no problems in supplying protection and cleaning material for citizens and health personnel.

“With the measures we have taken, Turkey is among the countries that have most quickly brought the outbreak under control … We are in the top five countries in terms of daily and total tests conducted. There has been a downward trend in confirmed cases compared to the increase in tests carried out,” he said.

We are the first country in the world among the countries with the lowest mortality rate. The number of patients who have recovered is close to 5,000,” added the Turkish president. “The WHO and other organisations are setting our country as an example. Not only are we protecting our citizens, we are also helping other neighbouring countries as much as possible. We have sent aid with medical supplies to 34 countries. We will continue to do so,” he added.

Erdoğan also commented that two new hospitals will be built in Turkey to increase the number of beds available, adding that the new Başakşehir hospital in Istanbul, which has 2,800 beds, will be partially opened on April 20th. “The hospital will enter full service on May 15th, with 456 intensive care units,” he said.

In this regard, the Turkish president also wanted to highlight that while the average for intensive care beds in Turkey is about 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, in Europe that average is only 12.

Free face masks for citizens

On the other hand, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructures Adil Karaismailoğlu has announced that they have already begun to distribute free masks to citizens between 20 and 65 years old (those under 20 and over 65 are prohibited from going out), requested through the postal service website. Masks are mandatory in public areas and on means of transport.

According to the latest figures released by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday, the total number of people infected with coronavirus in Turkey has reached 61,049, while 1,296 have already died from COVID-19; however, Koca noted that hospital discharges continue to increase and that there are 3,957 people who have overcome the disease, with 511 patients discharged in the last 24 hours, including one of 92 years.