Turkey under the grip of 48-hour Coronavirus Curfew

Turkey under the grip of 48-hour Coronavirus Curfew

Agency News

People in Turkey have shut doors and stood inside as the government announced a widespread 48-hour curfew.

Curfew was part of the country’s attempt to combat the spread of the coronavirus just hours. The lockdown, which applies to all residents and businesses except those carrying out essential services, covers 31 of the country's 81 provinces and its major population centers, including Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

Fahrettin Altun, the nation's communications director, asked for residents to comply with the last-minute directive "without panicking" and to "avoid behavior that will lead to a decrease in social distance."

Turkey's rising tallies make it one of the hardest-hit countries in the Middle East, second only to Iran in confirmed cases and fatalities linked to the virus. The global death toll also marked a dark milestone Friday, surpassing 100,000 fatalities worldwide — and already, less than 24 hours later, that sum stands north of 103,700.

In Turkey, the move to implement a stricter curfew — it had previously only applied to those over the age of 65 and under 20 — was welcomed, in general, by critics upset with a perceived lack of serious response by authorities.

But some local leaders took issue with the suddenness of the curfew announcement. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that his government, at least, received no advance warning of the curfew before the announcement came down: "Any decision made without cooperation only creates confusion and panic," the mayor said Friday.