Turkey was one of the last countries in Europe to report coronavirus cases. But it seems now that the pandemic is sweeping over the country and Turks are brzaing themselves for the storm to come. Turkey witnessed a major spike yesterday, #COVID-19 patients now reached 5,698, with 92 total deaths.
The Turkish government has been progressively introducing a raft of tough measures to deal with the crisis, including isolating all persons over 65.
In a televised broadcast, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced two new measures last night (27 March), shutting down all international air traffic in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Earlier, flights to and from European countries, China, South Korea and Iran were stopped.
Erdogan also announced that domestic travel is no longer allowed, unless strictly necessary. Because of this, bus traffic between cities is restricted.
Erdoğan did not publicly disclose information about the locations of infection hot spots. However, a local lockdown has been announced in twelve municipalities on the Black Sea. Measures announced earlier included the closing of all mosques. On Friday anti riot police could be seen close to some major mosques enforcing what for Turkey is a highly controversial measure.
Access to public areas such as picnic areas and forests will be limited. Social distancing will be enforced in public transport. President Erdogan urged citizens to go on a "voluntary quarantine".
You can watch a video of the Turkish president speech (in Turkish) here
In the meantime Erdogan on Friday abruptly fired the Minister of Transport, in a decree published in the official gazette.
source: report prepared by Maximiliaan van Lange and Noman Ahmed for commonspace.eu
photo: Riot police outside Fatih Mosque to ensure that the place remains closed during the ongoing crisis