The curfew will initially last two days. 64 million people, 78% of Turkey’s population, are at risk of being fined or detained if they leave home.
Turkish government decreed on Friday a curfew in the country’s 30 largest cities as well as the entire Zonguldak province, which will initially last for two days, extending from midnight on Friday to Sunday, with the aim of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
The measure affects metropolitan areas of Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Man Mersin, Muğla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon and Van. These metropolitan areas have been under quarantine since April 3rd, restricting the entry and exit of people.
The decision, adopted by the Interior Ministry, was made after the latest data has raised the number of those infected in Turkey to 47,029, while there are already 1,006 deaths from COVID-19 disease. The arrival of sunny weather and rising temperatures, especially in the central-western part of the country, made authorities fear that citizens could take advantage of it to go out, increasing the contagion rates.
Paradoxically, the announcement of the curfew -which went into effect at 00:00 hours- caused the opposite effect to that desired, since thousands of people took to the streets forming large queues and crowds at the entrance of shops, supermarkets and bakeries, in many cases ignoring the minimum distance rules to avoid contagion.
Interior Minister asks citizens to remain calm
In a videoconference held with the police chiefs of the country’s 81 provinces, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stressed the importance of this quarantined weekend as a critical point in the fight against the coronavirus, urging the police to send home to anyone who stayed abroad without just cause.
The minister also called for citizens to calm down and avoid panicking in the light of the queues formed in many cities before the curfew came into force, recalling that it will end at midnight on Sunday.
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 each 50,000 inhabitants), energy companies, mail and cargo delivery companies, and animal shelters, will be allowed to continue operating.
The curfew decreed by the government in the 30 largest cities in the country with the aim of stopping the coronavirus, means that some 64 million people – 78% of the population of Turkey – must spend the entire weekend confined to their houses unless they work in one of the aforementioned places. People who attend funerals of close family members, or who are scheduled to donate blood, are also exempt. If not, violators face fines and arrest.
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As a history lover, Pablo was captivated by Turkey from the first day he visited it in 2006: he got married there, has a house there… and has since become an expert on Turkey’s current affairs. With a long experience in media, he has been at the helm of hispanatolia.com since 2011, and now also of anatoliatoday.com