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‘Full closure’: Turkey set for weeks-long lockdown, Erdogan says, amid country’s stubborn Covid-19 death rate

‘Full closure’: Turkey set for weeks-long lockdown, Erdogan says, amid country’s stubborn Covid-19 death rate
Turkey will enter a nationwide lockdown later this month until May 17, which will include school closures and intercity travel curbs, in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19, President Tayyip Erdogan has announced.

The “full closure” comes into force from April 29 and will include curfews from 7pm to 5am, Erdogan said in a speech on Monday after a cabinet meeting.

Anyone traveling between cities will require prior permission from the authorities, while public transport will be limited to 50% capacity, he said.

Manufacturing and food businesses will be exempt from the measures, and face-to-face teaching will be suspended in all schools.

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Erdogan had already announced a partial lockdown earlier this month in Turkey for the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Those restrictions also included curfews and limits on inter-city travel.

The strict new measures come as Turkey’s Covid-19 death rate has stubbornly remained above 300 a day for more than a week, despite a decrease in infections.

The country, which has a population of 82 million people, reported a high of 63,000 daily infections on April 16. That figure has since shrunk to 37,000 on April 26, according to the latest government data.

Erdogan said there was “no difficulty” for the country’s health system in handling the current demand, but added that the daily number of new cases needed to fall below 5,000 by the end of Ramadan in order for restrictions to be eased.

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