Istanbul, İstiklal Avenue empty due to coronavirus

Turkey begins easing quarantine measures against coronavirus

Those over 65 and under 20 can now go outside one day a week. Quarantine is lifted in 7 provinces, and shopping centres, stores and hairdressers will be allowed to open.

Turkey will gradually begin in the next few days to lift the confinement and quarantine measures for the coronavirus and start the normalisation phase, with the first steps beginning this week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan announced Monday after a meeting of his cabinet.

Due to the good evolution data of the pandemic in Turkey, where the number of hospital discharges more than double the new infections (which continue to drop below 2,000 daily), Erdoğan explained that the country “will gradually return to normal life“, or rather what he defined as “a new normal”, warning that if citizens do not comply with the rules and there is a regrowth, tougher measures may come.

For example, the Turkish President announced that those over 65 and those under 20, who for more than a month had been prohibited from leaving home, may go out on the street one day a week for 4 hours from the next Sunday, May 10 in the case of those over 65. However, they will have to stay at a walking distance from their homes.

Starting on May 13, children up to the age of 14 will also be able to go outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., also not far from their homes, one day a week and for 4 hours. For young people between the ages of 15 and 20, the same measure will take effect on May 15.

Opening of shopping malls, stores and hairdressers from May 11

Another highly anticipated measure, the reopening of shopping malls, hairdressers and some stores, will arrive on May 11 as long as they comply with the security measures decreed by the government. In the case of universities, they will be able to resume their calendar of activities from June 15 if the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve as it has until now.

In addition, since Tuesday the quarantine measures for the provinces of Antalya, Aydın, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin and Muğla are also lifted, so that entry and exit trips will be allowed in these provinces. However, the restrictions will remain in effect for at least another 15 days for 24 other provinces and metropolitan areas, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

Erdoğan also took the opportunity to announce that the solidarity campaign, launched weeks ago to raise funds to fight the coronavirus and help people who have lost their income due to the pandemic, has managed to raise 1,190 million liras in donations, about 250 million euros.

According to the latest figures published on Monday about the evolution of the coronavirus in Turkey, the number of accumulated infections now totals 127,659 cases, of which 86,166 have overcome the disease and 3,461 have died, while the total number of tests carried out already amounts to 1,17 million.