Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced the weekend curfew and ordered restaurants to switch to take-out service only to fight rising coronavirus infections and rising mortality.
The latest wave of restrictions also include the closure of all theaters and restricted hours for most stores and malls.
Elementary schools will switch to distance learning until the end of the year.
“We are facing a serious situation,” Erdogan told the nation after chairing a cabinet meeting where the new measures were discussed.
“The number of cases and deaths has reached a serious level, starting with Istanbul, so we need to be more careful.”
Erdogan said the curfew would apply from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. and start this weekend.
The nation of 83 million people reported 103 new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, the first time the daily toll has exceeded 100 since April 25.
Turkey’s 11,704 total deaths are relatively small compared to countries with similar populations, and the World Health Organization has praised Ankara for its response.
It has forced people to wear masks on the streets of major cities since July and implemented the measure nationwide in September.
But the WHO has hit Turkey for being vague on how it counts new infections.
Turkey now publishes the number of coronavirus “patients”.
Health Minister Fahrettin said in September that the figure was only for people with symptoms, not all of those who tested positive for the virus.
The ministry now officially has more than 420,000 “patients” but the total number of infections is unknown.
Erdogan said the restrictions could get tougher if current trends continue.
But he stressed that he would prefer to avoid this to “keep our economy alive”.
“If the curve of the epidemic continues its upward course, discussing more painful measures will become inevitable,” he said.
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