Turkey has become one of the latest hotspots for the coronavirus in Europe. As of today, April 6, 2020, Turkey has reported 30,217 confirmed cases and 649 deaths, which means it has the ninth-highest number of cases worldwide. 31 cities have been closed down except for essential traffic within those cities, and face masks are mandatory on public transport, in market districts, and other communal spaces. In addition, most schools have been closed, a large sum of international and domestic flights are suspended, and mass prayers and public gatherings have been banned.
Turkey’s Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca has told people to “stay at home”, posting on Twitter and concluding the virus “draws its power from contact.” President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged people to stay “three paces” from one each other in public and in private in an overall social distancing effort. A famous Turkish footballer and former goalkeeper, Rustu Recber, was hospitalized on March 29th for rapid complications due to coronavirus. Interestingly enough, his wife and their two children tested negative for the virus.
Unlike other European countries, Turkey has not enforced a nationwide lockdown yet. However, on Friday President Erdogan put into place a nationwide confinement order for people under 20 years of age and anyone over age 65 (or with a chronic medical condition). Anyone outside of those age brackets is allowed to continue to work, and on Sunday Mr. Erdogan said anyone aged between 18 and 20 who are employed in the public or private sector are exempt from the curfew. Reports from Turkey say that a significant amount of people are still traveling in public, including on foot, on public transportation, and in cars.
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