Turkey eases COVID-19 measures, lifts weekend curfew for some cities

Turkey will lift weekend lockdowns in low and medium-risk cities and limit the restrictions to just Sundays in high and very high-risk cities as it starts a "controlled normalization" of COVID-19 measures, President Erdoğan said on March 1. Istanbul was categorized as high-risk, while Ankara was in the medium-risk category.

This photo shows people walking on Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue.

Duvar English 

Turkey will lift weekend curfew for cities deemed "low-risk" and "medium-risk" in terms of COVID-19 infection, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 1 following a Cabinet meeting. 

The curfew will remain in place for "high-risk" and "very high-risk" cities on Sundays, he said. 

The weekday curfew between 9 p.m and 5 a.m. will continue throughout the country, Erdoğan said. 

Cafes and restaurants will be allowed to operate between 7 am. - 7 p.m. at 50 percent capacity in cities except for "very high-risk" ones. 

Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, was categorized as high-risk, while the capital Ankara was in the medium-risk category.

The partial curfew imposed for citizens over the age of 65 or under the age of 20 will be lifted for low-risk and medium-risk cities, whereas their curfew hours will be extended for high-risk and very high-risk cities.

Under current regulations, senior citizens may only go outside between 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., while citizens aged 20 and under may only go outside between 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. 

Erdoğan said the list of measures would be updated every two weeks on a province-by-province basis. 

All pre-school education institutions across Turkey, elementary schools, grades 8 and 12 would resume in-person classes as of March 2, Erdoğan said.

Turkish Health Ministry
The Health Ministry will update the "risk" level of each city every week. 

The Health Ministry will every week update the "risk" level of each city on its website. 

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shared the cities' current COVID-19 risk rating on his Twitter account, saying: "Normalization steps will be implemented according to this. We will normalize in a cautious and gradual way."

Low-risk cities are represented by blue color, medium-risk cities by yellow color, high-risk cities by orange color and very high-risk cities by red color. 

The Health Ministry began publishing more detailed provincial case numbers on Feb. 15, data which experts said at the time could guide the re-opening of dining at restaurants and cafes as well as schools.

Turkey’s curfews, weekend lockdowns and other curbs were adopted in December in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.