President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on people to continue using masks, keeping social distance and giving importance to hygiene during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, which will start on July 31 and end on Aug. 4.
“I especially ask from my nation to pay very much attention to the issues of hygiene, masks and social distance during this holiday so that we can get rid of this calamity,” Erdoğan said on July 28, referring to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Erdoğan made the comments as he visited the graveyards of his mother Tenzile Erdoğan and his father Ahmet Erdoğan at Istanbul’s Karacaahmet Cemetery.
The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha is celebrated by the slaughter of animals and the donation of the meat to the people in need. As the process involves many people, experts have been warning against the risk of a spread of the COVID-19 during the holiday.
Also millions of people across Turkey hit the road during this time period to spend the holiday with their families in other parts of the country or travel to resort towns.
Erdoğan previously dismissed plans to reintroduce a nationwide curfew during the four-day-long holiday. “Of course, the issue’s evaluation will be done by the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Committee, but we can also share our view with the Science Committee,” Erdoğan said earlier in July.
At the start of June, Turkey opened restaurants and cafes, and lifted weekend stay-home orders and inter-city travel bans.
A subsequent doubling of daily coronavirus cases prompted Erdoğan to warn the country had lost some ground in its battle with COVID-19.
As Turks poured out into streets, parks, malls and vacation spots last month, the government made face masks compulsory in several provinces. Officials have since said there is no plan to slow momentum in the economy, which emerged in June from a near standstill since mid-March.