Coronavirus: Turkey announces first nationwide lockdown

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Turkey is to impose its first nationwide lockdown before Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The four-day lockdown is to start on Saturday, on the eve of Eid festivities, across all 81 provinces, 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.

Erdogan said that some mosques would also gradually reopen for afternoon worship after Friday prayers on May 29.

Congregational prayers in mosques have been suspended since March 16.

Exit and entry bans are to be extended for 15 days in 15 provinces and cities, including financial hub Istanbul and national capital Ankara, Erdogan said.

Schools are set to reopen in September, he told the nation in a televised address following a cabinet meeting.

“I believe that, god willing, after (Eid) we will encounter a situation where we don’t need these kinds of restrictions,” Erdogan said, but warned of tough measures if people fail to follow the rules.

Turkey has reported more than 150,000 cases and 4,171 deaths from COVID-19.

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