DİSK chair Arzu Çerkezoğlu said that Workers' Day will be celebrated on social media amid the coronavirus pandemic and a symbolic commemoration ceremony will be held in Taksim's Kazancı Hill to remember the victims of the 1977 attack. "For the first time in history, working class in the world won't be able to meet in the cities' most central squares in masses. However, despite these circumstances, world laborers will unite with the demands of jobs and income that fits human dignity, as well as social security," she said.
Ankara Municipality's psychological counseling hotline for COVID-19-related issues served some 400 callers from all over Turkey in the first month of operations. Residents of İstanbul, İzmir, Kocaeli, Bursa as well as Ankara have called the hotline, mostly concerned about getting ill or their loved ones getting sick.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has responded to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's accusations on CHP municipalities acting similar to "terrorist organizations," saying that they keep their silence for the good of the people. "For now, we're hearing the harsh accusations coming behind us, but keep going without saying anything. We don't have time to lose with the people shouting behind us. We keep running forward for the people," İmamoğlu said.
Turkey's Interior Ministry cancelled mass gatherings for the breaking of fasts, increased public transportation and limited access to shrines during the month of Ramadan. A staple of Ramadan traditions, the meal at the end of a day of fasting are treated as an occasion to gather in large crowds.
İYİ Party deputy Aytun Çıray has asked Health Minister Fahrettin Koca to explain the reasons for why an unusual increase in the number of deaths took place in Istanbul this year compared to last year. "In 2019, the number of people who died in Istanbul between March 11 and April 15 is 7,710. The number is 10,317 in the same time period in 2020. It can be clearly seen that it's not an ordinary increase," he said.
Government spokesperson Ömer Çelik has said that the coronavirus measures may be lifted gradually after Eid al-Fitr, which ends on May 26, if precautions are abided by. "We're thinking of lifting limitations gradually," he said, adding that some 25,000 Turkish citizens abroad wanted to return to Turkey to spend Eid al-Fitr in the country. "They will be brought to Turkey. It's a source of pride when the practices in other countries are examined," Çelik said.
High prices for evacuation flights have been straining the budgets of Turkish citizens stranded in foreign countries amid COVID-19 travel bans. Ticket prices have doubled for Spain, while all tickets are priced higher than the evacuation flights conducted in March.
Some 39 percent of health workers in Turkey haven't been tested for COVID-19, a union report revealed. Less than ten percent of hospitals conducted testing to scan workers, while only two percent conduct routine testing.
Two Turkish academics predicted that Turkey will be relaxing COVID-19 protection measures near the beginning of August at the latest. In this scenario, more than 2 million persons get infected in the country.
A public accountants' union warned that the COVID-19 outbreak could lead to the unemployment of some 10,000,000 persons. The union's report also noted that the service industry has essentially stopped entirely and that more than half of the workers could have become unemployed.
Some 1,318 Turkish citizens were transported back to Turkey during travel bans that aim to slow the spread of COVID-19. The citizens had been stranded in Iraq, Germany, Spain, Egypt and Ireland. The passengers will remain under quarantine for 14 days.
Turkish gov’t assigns citizens free masks in ‘place of residence,’ refuses distribution in other cities
Turkish citizens have been struggling to pick up their free surgical masks in pharmacies if they're not in their registered "place of residence." The Health Ministry has been indicating particular cities for citizens to pick up their free masks, but many are dislocated due to the travel bans established to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Grocery stores and bodegas will be operating during extended hours before the four-day curfew that will start April 23 in Turkey's 31 provinces. In addition, grocery stores will operate during the curfew, along with restaurants, bakeries and some factories.
Main opposition slams gov’t for sending coronavirus aid abroad ‘when Turkish people can’t get masks’
CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has slammed the government over sending coronavirus aid to a number of countries when Turkish people can't get masks. "They couldn't distribute five masks to people in the past month, but they sent planes full of masks to Britain, Spain and Italy to show off," Öztrak said, referring to the government's decision to distribute five masks free of charge to each citizen once in every 10 days.
Residents of Istanbul's Princes' Islands petitioned to cut off access to the islands on April 23. St. George's Holiday and a national holiday at the same time, it's tradition to visit St. George's Monastery on this day.