Coronavirus: Turkey imposes four-day lockdown in major cities to curb outbreak

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday announced a four-day lockdown from May 16 in Istanbul and other major cities as part of measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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“There will again be a lockdown in place on May 16-17-18 and 19,” Erdogan said in an address to the nation following a weekly cabinet meeting.

Since the start of the outbreak, Turkey has had all-day weekend curfews in 31 cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara.

May 19 is a public holiday in Turkey, so the government decided to extend the weekend curfew until Tuesday.

Turkey has so far recorded 3,841 coronavirus deaths and nearly 140,000 confirmed infections.

Erdogan said his government had begun taking steps to return the life to “normal” but he warned that nothing would be the same as before.

“We have entered a new period” where rules of hygiene and social distancing need to be strictly followed, he said.

“We have seen the examples in the world of how complacency could lead to big catastrophes.”

Last Sunday, anyone over 65 was allowed to go out for four hours – for the first time since March 21. They will be allowed to do the same this weekend.

On Monday, shopping malls opened in Turkey as well ás barber shops and hair salons.

The government hopes the domestic tourism sector can reopen in June after the Eid holiday, which follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

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