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Turkey to start easing strict coronavirus lockdown tomorrow

Turkey will start easing its strict coronavirus lockdown on May 17 by allowing movement during the day while keeping overnight and weekend curfews in place, the Interior Ministry said in a directive on May 16. 

President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday Turkey would gradually ease out of a full lockdown imposed 2-1/2 weeks ago,
and lift restrictions more significantly in June.

Turkish authorities tightened coronavirus measures after the number of daily COVID-19 cases soared above 60,000 in April, one of the highest rates globally, and deaths reached nearly 400 a day.

Until June 1, people will have to remain at home between 9 pm and 5 am during weekdays and from Friday evening until Monday morning, aside from meeting basic shopping needs, the ministry directive said.

It said inter-city travel will be allowed outside of curfew hours, while restaurants and cafes will be limited to takeaway services. Shopping malls will open on weekdays but facilities such as sports clubs and cinemas will remain shut, it added.

While Turkey has imposed curbs on people’s movements and activities throughout the pandemic, Erdoğan has sought to maintain economic production by keeping factories open even during full lockdown.

The number of daily new cases has fallen to 11,000, sharply down from last month but still above the target of 5,000 Erdoğan set at the start of the lockdown. Around 10.8 million people have been fully vaccinated, or 13% of the population, with 14.9 million having received only a first dose.

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