Turkey prepares for harshest COVID-19 shutdown

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: to impose a three-week-long nationwide shutdown.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: to impose a three-week-long nationwide shutdown amid a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Turkey will impose a three-week-long nationwide shutdown later on Thursday, its harshest lockdown since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic after it recently failed to curb a surge in infections and deaths.

The measures, including the closure of schools and shopping malls and restricted intercity travel, starting from 7 pm (1600 GMT) and will continue uninterrupted until 5 am on May 17, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced this week.

Local media reported people flocking to bus terminals to leave the country’s largest city Istanbul.

Others trying to get out of the metropolis in their own cars were backed up for kilometres in traffic from the early hours of the day, Hurriyet daily reported.

Elsewhere, shopping malls and supermarkets were crowded as people rushed to stockpile on food as well as alcohol amid news of a ban on the sale of booze.

The shutdown covers the Eid holidays after the fasting month of Ramadan.

Turkey re-imposed restrictions at the end of March due to a rapid increase in infections.

New daily infections crossed an all-time high of more than 60,000 earlier this month.

More than 40,000 new infections were reported on Wednesday.

The country of 84 million has recorded more than 4.7 million cases since last March, while the death toll is more than 39,000.

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