Turkey announces strictest lockdown so far as virus surges

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president has announced the country’s strictest pandemic restrictions so far, closing businesses and schools and limiting travel for nearly three weeks starting Thursday to fight a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Turkey had so far instituted partial lockdowns to curb infections and to keep the economy running as it faces a significant economic downturn.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that all businesses would have to close down unless otherwise stated by the interior ministry. Supermarkets will remain open except on Sundays. Intercity travel will require permissions, and schools will switch to online education. The measures will be in place until May 17.

Erdogan said that without stricter restrictions and curbing infection rates, there would be a “heavy price” for tourism, trade and education. He said the aim is to lower daily infections to 5,000. Confirmed daily infections Monday stood at 37,312 .

Infections and deaths soared after Turkey lifted partial restrictions in March. The country of 83 million has recorded more than 4,6 million infections and a total 38,711 deaths.


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