Istanbul, May 4, 2020 – Turkey will relax confinement rules on people aged 65 and over, and those under 20, as the country moves to a “new normal”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday. Since March 21, around 7.5 million senior citizens have been under lockdown, forbidden from going outside in a measure taken to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. The same restriction was brought in by the government for people aged under 20 on April 4. “We will gradually return to normal life,” Erdogan said in Istanbul after a cabinet meeting held by videoconference. “But this will be a new normal,” he warned.
Barbers, hairdressers and shopping centres will be able to reopen on May 11, said Erdogan. From Sunday, those aged more than 64 will be able to go out for fours a day, between 0800 and 1200 GMT, he added. From May 13, the same four-hour window will be extended to children under 15 — and to those aged between 15 and 20 from May 15, said Erdogan.
Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus is 3,461, according to the official figures as of Monday, while the number of cases has passed 127,000. The government hopes the domestic tourism sector can start in June after the Eid holiday, which follows the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. But Erdogan insisted that all-day weekend curfews in 31 cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, would continue. After recording more than 5,000 new cases in a single day in mid-April, the number of infections in a 24-hour period has declined substantially, with recoveries now overtaking new infections.