Turkey, lockdown during coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Turkey will be under total lockdown until May 17

The measure pretends to curb coronavirus infections. Travel between provinces is prohibited. Schools and work centres also close their doors.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced late Monday a total lockdown for the whole of Turkey that will begin in the afternoon of April 29 and will last at least until May 17 in the morning, in order to curb coronavirus infections and the burden of patients in hospitals and ICUs.

“Starting from April 29 until May 17, we are going to have a total confinement for COVID-19,” Erdoğan announced Monday night after attending a meeting of his cabinet of ministers at the Presidential Palace Complex in Ankara, in an appearance in which he highlighted the worrying increase in cases in the country.

The Turkish president also announced that during this period travel between provinces will be prohibited except in authorised exceptional cases, while public transport between provinces will operate at only 50% of its capacity. Those who had previously made reservations in accommodation or hotels, as well as tourists and those who were in their 2nd residence and want to return to their main one, will be exempt from the prohibition.

Schools and work centres will also close their doors

Schools will also remain completely closed between April 29 and May 17, and all classes will continue online, as explained by the Turkish president, adding that work centres would not be an exception: “All workplaces will suspend their activities during the total confinement, except those who are excluded through the circular of the Ministry of the Interior”, he said.

The excluded sectors would be food production and manufacturing. Food stores will remain open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and citizens will be able to go out to buy food at the establishments closest to their homes. Cafes and restaurants may also open to serve takeout food. Pharmacies and establishments that sell cleaning products will also be open.

In recent days, the Turkish press had already been speculating that the Turkish government could extend the restrictions announced two weeks ago coinciding with the start of Ramadan – and that were supposed to expire on Monday – to include the entire month of Ramadan as well as the traditionally national holiday in which the end of the fast is celebrated.

However, this total confinement in Turkey announced until May 17 has caught many citizens by surprise, especially after on Saturday – for the first time in several weeks – daily positive cases of coronavirus decreased to just over 40,000 infections, although daily deaths from COVID-19 remain above 300.