Erdogan announces extended weekend lockdown from May 1

The curfew comes a week after a four-day lockdown weekend, including the national April 23 holiday and start of Ramadan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said a three-day lockdown would be imposed in 31 cities as of Friday, and similar weekend restrictions would continue until after the Eid al-Fitr holiday in late May.

Speaking to reporters through a video link following a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said on Monday that a schedule for returning to normal would be announced soon.

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The upcoming extended curfew comes on the heels of a four-day lockdown weekend, which included the national April 23 holiday and the start of Ramadan, Islam’s holy month, last week.

“By overcoming COVID-19, Turkey hopes to have a double feast at the end of Ramadan,” when the Eid al-Fitr holiday will take place, the Turkish president said.

Eid al-Fitr is the festival marking the end of Ramadan.

Erdogan also said that for the Muslim holy month, Ankara was evacuating 25,000 Turkish nationals from dozens of countries worldwide, adding to some 40,000 already brought back from pandemic-hit regions.

Health ministry data showed on Monday that Turkey’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by 2,131 in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to more than 112,000. The death toll stood at 2,900, with 95 new fatalities registered, while more than 4,650 recoveries were recorded bringing the total to 33,791.

Erdogan pointed out that the number of new patients and the death toll continued falling, saying that seeing more recoveries from the coronavirus than new cases was an important turning point.

Medical gear to US

Separately, the president announced that Turkey would send medical gear including protective suits and masks to the United States to help its efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“At a time when even developed countries are asking for Turkey’s support, we have offered our support to a wide geography, from the Balkans to Africa,” he said.

“Most recently, we are sending medical aid to the United States on Tuesday, consisting of surgical masks, N95 masks, hazmat suits and disinfectants,” Erdogan said, adding that the shipment would be delivered via a Turkish military plane.

Turkey in April started carrying out weekend lockdowns in 31 cities, as part of measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

People above 65 years of age or those with chronic medical conditions are subject to obligatory confinement.

The government has also imposed a partial curfew for those under the age of 20, excluding workers, and it has also been sending free masks to citizens via mail.

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