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.
The neighborhood head (muhtar) of the eastern village of İçmeler blocked off the entrance, and hung up a banner that reads "Entrances to the village are banned because of corona!" The muhtar also takes visitors' temperatures and only allows residents to enter.
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.