Turkey imposes partial weekend curfew, closes restaurants against increasing COVID-19 cases

President Erdoğan announced on Nov. 17 that the government will impose tighter measures to fight with the novel coronavirus and impose partial lockdowns on weekends across the country. Erdoğan said all schools will remain closed until the year-end and all restaurants will only work by delivery.

Duvar English 

The Turkish government will implement a nationwide curfew on weekends, except for the hours of between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Nov. 17.

"A lockdown restriction will be imposed outside the hours of 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. over the weekends in a way that will not disrupt supply and production chains," Erdoğan said. 

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Erdoğan also said all schools will shift to online learning format until the end of the year and all restaurants will only work by delivery. 

"If the increasing trend of the outbreak continues, it will become inevitable for the measures that resulted in painful outcomes for all of us to be back on the agenda," Erdoğan said.

Enterprises such as grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants and hair salons will be allowed to operate between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. as part of the new measures. 

The ongoing partial lockdown for citizens aged 65 or above will also be applied for people under the age of 20, except for those who work, Erdoğan said. Last week, a partial lockdown had banned senior citizens from being outside except between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

Among the other measures is the closure of coffeehouses ("kıraathane") until further notice, as well as the closure of cinemas until the end of the year. Also, all sports events will be held without the presence of fans.

Turkey's advisory science board has recommended that the government should implement "concrete" measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Nov. 16, as the number of daily cases has spiked in recent weeks.

Ankara only announces the daily number of symptomatic cases, of which there were 3,819 on Nov. 17, as well as 103 deaths, both around the levels last seen in April, bringing the total death toll to 11,704 from the disease.

"The critical actors of the struggle [against the virus] is our health personnel. We need to keep our most critical warriors powerful. It is compulsory for all of us to abide by the measures,"  Koca wrote on Twitter.