Turkey imposes its broadest yet lockdown for Eid al-Fitr

Under new nationwide 24-hour curfew, people in 81 cities are banned from leaving home from May 23 to 26.

Turkey imposes 4-day curfew across country
A general view of an empty street is seen after Turkey imposed a four-day nationwide restriction to curb the spread of the coronavirus [Serhat Zafer/Anadolu]

Turkey has imposed a four-day nationwide lockdown for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus that has killed more than 4,200 people in the country.

The curfew came into effect across Turkey’s 81 provinces on midnight on Friday, a day before Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Markets, grocery stores, greengrocers, and butchers will continue to operate from 10am to 5pm local time (07:00 – 14:00 GMT) on May 23, but they will be closed from May 24 to 26. Bakeries will remain open during the four-day lockdown, the country’s broadest yet.

This year’s Eid celebrations will be markedly constrained, with people unable to attend large gatherings and feast together, or travel to visit family and friends.

Worshippers will also not be able to attend mosques, where congregational prayers have been suspended since March 16, although some will gradually reopen next week.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at an easing of restrictions after Eid, but warned of tough measures if people failed to follow physical distancing rules. 

Turkey has not had a stringent countrywide lockdown since reporting its first positive case on March 11, resorting instead to weekend curfews in some provinces. 

Critics say previous partial movement-restriction orders were badly organised and ineffectual.

Earlier this week, shopping centres, barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen across the country after a nearly two-month closure. 

The easing of restrictions came with stepped-up safety and hygiene measures in place.

As of Friday, the country had reported a total of 154,500 coronavirus cases, including 116,111 recoveries, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

Earlier this month, Turkey’s lira briefly fell to a record low against the United States dollar as Ankara sought to mitigate the economic effect of the outbreak.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies