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FEBRUARY

February 5: Turkey’s Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry seized flights to and from China.

February 23: The Interior Ministry released a notice that they closed Turkey’s border with Iran. 

A woman wearing a surgical mask walks past Kapıköy Border Gate to Iran.

February 29: The Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry stopped flights to and from Italy, Iraq and South Korea in addition to those to and from China. 

MARCH

March 11: Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the first case of a person infected with COVID-19.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca speaks to the media March 11.

March 12: A day after the announcement of the first case, the Education Ministry seized education in elementary and middle schools as well as high schools for a week, noting that remote classes would begin March 23.

The same day, Turkey’s Council of Higher Education (YÖK) seized education in universities for three weeks, but college staff were not allowed time off. 

College students rushed to bus stations to return to their hometowns following the announcement of a break in education.

March 13: The Presidency mandated that any public workers obtain government permission to travel abroad. 

The same day, the Youth and Sports Ministry announced that all sports events be carried out without an audience until April 30.

Also on on March 13, flights to Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands were seized by the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry. 

Workers at the Istanbul Airport monitor a thermal camera screen.

The Justice Ministry ruled to pause transfers and visitations in correctional facilities for two weeks on this day as well. 

Lastly on March 13, Parliament (TBMM) ruled to stop visitations in house until March 30. 

March 15: The Interior Ministry temporarily shut down bars, night clubs and discos. 

A man walks past a closed bar in the upscale Istanbul neighborhood of Nişantaşı.

March 17: The Culture and Tourism Ministry temporarily closed museums and picnic areas. 

Also on March 17, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (TCMB) ruled to approve all liquidity for banks. 

March 18: The Council of Higher Education ruled to start remote education March 23.

Turkey’s Education Minister Ziya Selçuk held the first remote class on the morning of March 23.

March 19: The Presidency ruled to suspend all conferences, panels, exhibitions, concerts and sports events until April 30.

Also on March 19, the Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey (Diyanet) ruled to suspend mass Friday prayers and to close mosques on Fridays. 

A congregation member sits wearing a surgical mask during mass Friday prayer.

The same day, the Youth and Sports Ministry postponed handball, volleyball, basketball and soccer leagues and the Assessment Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) postponed nine exams.

Lastly on March 19, the Interior Ministry closed the Greek and Bulgarian borders through which they allowed crossings February 28.

March 20: The Health Ministry declared all private and foundation hospitals to be pandemic hospitals. 

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment stands in between sliding doors that display Turkey’s Health Ministry’s logo.

March 21: The Interior Ministry placed a curfew on persons aged 65 or over, and on persons with chronic illnesses. Also, hair dressers, barber shops and beauty salons were temporarily closed. 

Also on March 21, the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry halted flights to 46 other countries. 

Lastly on March 21, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry banned picnics and grilling in parks and recreational areas. 

Law enforcement officials started doing senior citizens’ shopping for them to help them comply with the curfew.

March 22: The Interior Ministry temporarily suspended seating in restaurants, patisseries and cafes, allowing only delivery or takeout for the businesses. 

Also on March 22, the Presidency suspended all debt payments until April 30, except for child support payments. 

A baker wearing personal protective equipment hands a customer a bag.

March 23: Public workers started the transition to working from home and working in shifts. 

Also on March 23, Turkey’s Ziraat Bank postponed all loan payments. 

A worker sews a surgical mask.

March 24: The Interior Ministry ruled to have markets and supermarkets stay open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and to have in-city and intercity buses function at 50% capacity.

Also on March 24, the Presidency ruled to allow free of charge use of public transportation and public spaces to health workers.

An Istanbul Municipality worker disinfects a bus.

March 25: The Environment and Urbanization Ministry suspended bids until the end of April.

Also on March 25, the Presidency removed taxes on imported ethyl alcohol and ventilators, and postponed payments on Halkbank’s low-interest loans.

Lastly, on March 25, the Education Ministry suspended schools until April 30. 

Turkey’s alcohol-based lemon-scented cologne became a top commodity during the COVID-19 outbreak in Turkey.

March 26: The Council of Higher Education announced that the Spring semester would be carried out entirely remotely and that the Higher education Institutions Exam (YKS) would be postponed to July. 

Also on March 26, the Interior Ministry postponed all municipal meetings until the end of June. 

March 27: The Directorate of Religious Affairs postponed the payments of pilgrimage trips and applications until further notice. 

Also on March 27, the Interior Ministry announced it would be mandating travel permissions for intercity bus travels and placed five villages under quarantine. 

Total number of cases reached 5,698 on March 27, while the number of patients who died surged to 92.

March 28: The Interior Ministry quarantined a village in the eastern Turkey, mandated permission slips for air travel and Turkish Airlines (THY) suspended all domestic flights except on 14 routes.

Also on March 28, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced museums and recreational areas would be closed until March 30. 

On March 28, the Health Ministry banned health workers from resigning for three months. 

The same day, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey lowered interest rates on credit card payments. 

Lastly on March 28, the Justice Ministry further suspended transfers between and visitations in correctional facilities.

Total number of cases reached 7,402 while the death toll hit 108 March 28.

March 29: The governor’s offices of Ankara and Istanbul banned children from bazaars and markets. 

Also on March 29, the Interior Ministry quarantined 12 more villages.

Total number of cases reached 9,217 March 29 while the number of patients who died reached 131.

March 30: The Interior Ministry limited the number of taxis allowed in traffic and quarantined a neighborhood in the east of Turkey. 

Also on March 30, the Justice Ministry placed correctional employees in isolation.

Lastly on March 30, the Istanbul Governor’s Office suspended ferry trips.

Total number of infected persons reached 10,827 March 30 while the death toll surged to 168.

March 31: The Presidency initiated a fundraiser to collect money for COVID-19 treatment.

Also on March 31, the Interior Ministry opened investigations into local governments’ fundraisers.

Lastly on March 31, Parliament extended its visitor ban until April 30. 

Total number of cases hit 13,531 while the number of patients who died from COVID-19 reached 214 March 31.

APRIL

April 1: The Countil of Higher Education announced that students could suspend their enrollment during the COVID-19 outbreak with no repercussions.

Total number of infected persons reached 15,679 April 1 while the death toll hit 277 persons.

April 2: The Interior Ministry ruled to temporarily close branches of the Turkish Post that are overwhelmed and quarantined three more villages. 

Also on April 2, Turkish Airlines suspended all flights. 

The total number of infected persons reached 18,135 April 2, while the number of persons who died from COVID-19 in Turkey reached 356.

April 3: The Interior Ministry quarantined Turkey’s 30 metropolitan cities and Zonguldak, placed a curfew on persons younger than 20 and made surgical masks mandatory in public spaces. 

Also on April 3, Istanbul and Ankara municipalities banned passengers without surgical masks from public transportation. 

Total number of cases reached 20,921 April 3 while the death toll reached 425.

April 4: The Interior Ministry quarantined three villages, as well as some neighborhoods. 

Also on April 4, the Social Security Administration included all coronavirus treatment in state insurance. 

The total number of infected persons reached 23,934 April 4 while the number of persons who died from COVID-19 reached 501.

April 5: The Interior Ministry excluded working individuals between 18 and 20 from the curfew, as well as any public workers and private employees who could prove their employment. 

Also on April 5, the Health Ministry announced that anyone over 65 years old or under 20 years old would be receiving five surgical masks a week. 

Total number of infected persons reached 27,069 April 5 while the death toll reached 574 persons.

April 6: The Health Ministry mandated the use of surgical masks inside health institutions. 

Also on April 6, the Council of Higher Education announced the postponement of two exams. 

Lastly, on April 6, the Presidency announced that it was no longer legal to sell surgical masks for money. 

The number of persons infected with the disease reached 30,217 persons while the number of persons having died from COVID-19 reached 649 April 6.

April 7: The Health Ministry mandated the expedition of any health workers’ assignments to Istanbul. 

The total number of COVID-19 patients reached 34,109 April 7 while the death toll reached 729.