Turkey is trying to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease, despite the fact that there are only 18 registered cases of coronavirus. The Turkish president will announce measures to support the economy this week.
The Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), the institution that controls everything related to Islam in Turkey, announced on Monday the ban on holding mass gatherings and congregations in mosques – including Fridays – in an attempt to curb the expansion of the coronavirus in the country: a measure that comes after many others announced in the last hours by the authorities.
As Diyanet president Ali Erbaş announced in a statement to the media, despite the exceptional measure, mosques will remain open so that those faithful who wish may practise their daily prayers, although extra measures such as disinfection will be carried out daily, besides maintaining a safe distance between people.
In recent days, authorities have recommended to practising Muslims not to go to mosques and carry out the 5 daily prayers prescribed by Islam in their own homes. Furthermore, as part of the measures against COVID-19, all the pilgrims who have returned since Saturday from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah are being placed under quarantine.
Closing of cafes, cinemas, amusement parks and swimming pools
Also, new measures were approved this Monday by the Interior Ministry of Turkey, where the number of those infected by the virus rose to 18 infections on Sunday, although no fatality has yet been registered.
According to the ministerial order, from Tuesday at 00:00 hours all cafes, gyms, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, wedding halls, stages, breweries, taverns, Internet cafes, shisha bars, leisure and gaming venues, amusement parks, swimming pools, Turkish baths, saunas and spas must be closed until further notice.
The closure does not currently affect shopping centres and restaurants, which in principle may remain open and operate normally.
New measures to curb the impact of COVID-19 on the economy
Likewise, the Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak announced on Monday through his Twitter account that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “will announce this week the steps that will be taken” to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
Albayrak said that Turkey has taken measures to avoid liquidity access problems due to this crisis, adding: “Turkey is more prepared and cautious than ever about a possible global crisis” caused by the coronavirus. “Our country can easily overcome something like this thanks to its powerful production infrastructure, its low indebtedness, its qualified and trained workforce, and a its dynamic domestic market.”
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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