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Turkey’s senior citizens will be allowed to travel to their hometowns starting on May 21, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, with the Interior Ministry announcing the its conditions.
People above 65 -- the age group most at risk of developing serious COVID-19 symptoms -- need to get a special permission for their travel from the local governor's office, Koca said on May 20 during a press conference.
The minister said the permission will be given on the condition that senior citizens provide a fixed address for their hometowns.
Turkey has implemented partial lockdowns with people above 65 and under 20, who are ordered to stay at home. The measure towards senior citizens came into force on March 21.
As part of a rolling program of reduced coronavirus controls, senior citizens are now allowed out for up to six hours on Sundays every week.
The Interior Ministry, in its notice sent to 81 provinces, said that the travel permits for the senior citizens can be obtained online or by phone. They'll be able to go wherever they want on condition of staying there for at least 30 days.Turkish Medical Association urges halt to medical tourism
Necessary precautions will be adopted to prevent overcrowding in bus terminals, the ministry said, adding that the curfew imposed on those above the age of 65 is still valid.
The ministry noted that those who accompany the elderly will be able to return to their hometowns within 72 hours.
Medical records of the senior citizens and their companions will be sought before handing permits. The results of the permit applications will be sent via SMS.
The government announced earlier in the week that the existing travel restrictions on 15 provinces have been extended for another 15 days.
Turkey's daily number of new COVID-19 cases has fallen to around 1,000 from around 4,500 last month. Its official coronavirus death toll stands at 4,199, with more than 110,000 people having recovered.