In a bid to contain rampant spread of COVID-19 within its borders, Turkey has announced that it will impose its first nationwide lockdown before Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The four-day lockdown will begin on Saturday, on the eve of Eid festivities, across all 81 provinces, tha country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
Turkey has not had a stringent countrywide curfew since it reported its first positive case on March 11, resorting instead to weekend curfews in certain provinces and,although congregational prayers in mosques have been suspended since March 16, Erdogan said some mosques would gradually reopen for afternoon worship after Friday prayers on May 29.
Exit and entry bans would be extended for 15 days in 15 provinces and cities, including financial hub Istanbul and national capital Ankara, while schools would reopen in September.
“I believe that, god willing, after (Eid) we will encounter a situation where we don’t need these kinds of restrictions,” Erdogan said via a televised address following a cabinet meeting.
Turkey has reported more than 150,000 cases and 4,171 deaths from COVID-19.