Turkey declares curfew for weekend in 31 major cities

Turkish Interior Ministry on April 10 imposed a two-day curfew in 31 large cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, in response to the spread of COVID-19. The ministry said the curbs would begin at midnight and end at the same time on April 12. Detailing specifics of the lockdown in a subsequent statement, the ministry said bakeries, pharmacies and health facilities would be among places excluded from the ban.

Duvar English

Turkey has declared a curfew for the weekend in 31 large cities to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to a circular sent by the Interior Ministry to the local governor's offices, the curfew will take effect at 00.01 a.m. on April 11 and will last until 23.59 p.m. on April 12.

The curfew will be valid for the following cities: Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Muğla, Ordu, Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon, Van and Zonguldak.

The move scales up exiting curbs under which people under the age of 20 and senior citizens have been told to stay at home.

Ministry announces exemptions for curfew

Detailing specifics of the lockdown in a subsequent statement, the Interior Ministry said bakeries, pharmacies and health facilities would be among places excluded from the ban, enabling people to meet essential needs.

Strategic energy companies, distribution firms and some petrol stations would also be allowed to keep operating and people working in such places were exempted from the lockdown, it said.

The curfew would also not be applicable for people who will be carrying out burial procedures for their first-degree-relatives and those who have an appointment for blood and plasma donation for the Turkish Red Crescent, it added.

"It is essential that all other citizens remain in their homes aside from the specified exemptions," the statement said.

The new measure came after the country's death toll from the coronavirus rose by 98 to total 1,006 and new confirmed cases rose by 4,747 to bring the country’s total to 47,029.

During a press conference on April 10, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey’s Covid-19 death rate — the number of deaths divided by the total number of cases — currently stands at 2.15 percent, the 12th highest among countries with the population exceeding 10 million.

Koca urged people to resist the temptation to leave their homes during the weekend as the weather warms. 

Turkey’s coronavirus death toll reaches 1,006 with 47,029 casesTurkey’s coronavirus death toll reaches 1,006 with 47,029 cases

Meanwhile, following the Interior Ministry's announcement, many citizens late on April 10 rushed to bakeries and markets to buy basic needs before the curfew went into effect.

Long queues have formed in front of these markets, with pictures posted on social media showing that residents neglected social distancing rules.

Several social media users have criticized the authorities for not notifying them earlier about the curfew decision, saying that an earlier announcement would have spared such a panic.