Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on July 29 that the partial curfew imposed on senior citizens might be lifted following the Eid al-Adha holiday, in line with the Coronavirus Science Committee's suggestion in this regard. Turkey's elderly aged 65 and above are currently allowed to go out between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. as part of coronavirus measures.
Turkey's Interior Ministry said that senior citizens will now be allowed to travel after obtaining a "tourism document" on the government's online portal. Although seniors are allowed to go outside between certain hours every day, the age group is still under curfew.
A group of seniors in Istanbul's Cihangir neighborhood protested the ongoing curfew on their age group. On a Sunday when they were allowed outside, the seniors asked the curfew to be lifted on citizens over 65 who have dutifully stayed home for months to avoid spreading COVID-19.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned citizens that the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic grows as they relax precautions. Minister Koca's warning comes a week after Turkey began its "normalization" process, reopening businesses and resuming public transportation operations, even observing its first weekend off curfew.
A total of 258,651 senior citizens and their companions have been given travel permits in one day after the government eased inter-province travel restrictions for those aged 65 and over.
Turkey's senior citizens were exempt from their nearly two-month curfew for the first time May 10. Although many seniors were happy to be outside after a long period of isolation, many wish they were able to go outside during the week.
A genomics expert warned that Turkey faces a ticking bomb as it gradually relaxes its COVID-19 precautions. The expert noted that if the curfew on seniors isn't lifted carefully, a second wave of infections could emerge. “If these groups go outside, there won’t be a wave, there will be a tsunami," he told.
Grocery stores are extending their closure hours on May 8, ahead of a weekend stay-at-home order. Meanwhile, those over 65 will be allowed to leave homes for four hours on May 10 when the rest of the population is observing the curfew. Children will be allowed to take walks for four hours on May 13 and teenagers on May 15.
Turkey’s Family, Labor and Social Services Ministry released 19 tips for citizens over 65 to help protect themselves from Covid-19. While many of the items are basic hygiene protocol, number 14 did tell seniors to “maintain a positive attitude.”