Turkey, restrictions due to coronavirus

Turkey to ease coronavirus restrictions from March

Provinces will be divided into 4 categories according to infection and vaccination rates, and they will be decide on the end of restrictions.

Turkey will begin to ease some of the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including curfews and possibly also the closure of restaurants and cafes, starting next March, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan announced today.

“We are going to begin the gradual normalisation process at the beginning of March, dividing our provinces into four categories according to the criteria established by our Ministry of Health,” explained the Turkish president in an appearance after a meeting with his cabinet of ministers held in Ankara.

According to Erdoğan, the 4 categories will be low, medium, high, and very high risk, and the classification will be made depending – among other data – on the infection and vaccination rates of each province. “We will gradually lift the curfews, starting with the weekends,” announced the Turkish president, adding that the resumption of face-to-face classes will also be decided following the same criteria.

Erdoğan went on to say that Turkey has made the necessary contacts to procure more coronavirus vaccines, noting that March will be a month in which Turkey is expected to make great steps in terms of vaccination, while insisting that citizens should continue to maintain safety measures such as the use of a face mask and social distance.

“The key point is to make sure that the number of cases in all the provinces continues to fall. Turkey is managing this global crisis (caused by the pandemic) very successfully,” Erdoğan said.

End of curfews and reopening of restaurants

According to the information published in the Turkish media, as part of the lifting of restrictions from March, the first measure that would be put to an end would be the weekend curfews – which prohibit going out on the street, with exceptions, from 9 p.m. on Friday night to 5 a.m. on Monday – although always depending on the decision made by the health committees of each province, depending on the evolution of the pandemic.

From there, the next restriction that would be lifted would be weekdays curfews – which prohibit going out on the street from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. – and, later, face-to-face classes would resume in schools and universities.

It is also expected that in the coming days – according to Erdoğan himself – a “roadmap” will be announced for the partial reopening and under conditions of restaurants and cafes, which currently can only serve take away food. These establishments will be able to serve customers again, although only at 25-30% of their capacity and with stays of a maximum of 45 minutes per client. In addition, customers will only be able to access with a valid HES health code.

Despite the announcement of the partial lifting of restrictions due to the coronavirus as of March, experts from the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Health warn that if the situation worsens again in those provinces where the measures are relaxed, the restrictions will return. In addition, movements between provinces or even between districts could be prohibited to prevent the spread of the virus to areas with low incidence rates.