Roundup: Turkey Unveils Province-Based Approach To Easing COVID-19 Restrictions
ANKARA, Mar 2 (NNN-ANADOLU) – Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yesterday unveiled a new normalisation plan, to ease COVID-19 restrictions in Turkey, through a province-based approach.
“It is not possible to take normalisation steps in an environment where the pandemic is spreading. As Turkey is a big country, in terms of geographical area and population, we need to take gradual steps,” Erdogan said, at a press conference, after a cabinet meeting.
The 81 provinces in Turkey will be divided into four categories of low, medium, high and very high risk, according to their COVID-19 situation, based on infection rates and the vaccination process. The provinces will be evaluated every week and their normalisation applications will be updated, according to Erdogan.
Cafes and restaurants, which were allowed only for take-away and delivery, will now be able to host customers between 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m., with half capacity, yet excluding very high-risk provinces.
Civil servants will return to normal working hours across Turkey. The weekday curfew will continue across the country between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m., while the weekend curfew restrictions in low- and medium-risk provinces will be lifted, and lockdown will remain in high and very high-risk regions on Sunday.
Mobility restrictions for people over 65 and under 20 are abolished in low- and medium-risk provinces.
All pre-school education institutions, primary schools, 8th to 12th grades will open for in-person education. Besides, face-to-face education will also start in secondary and high schools, in low and medium-risk provinces. But only face-to-face exams will be held in high schools, in high- and very high-risk provinces.
In a map of Turkey, tweeted by Turkish Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, where the provinces are classified according to four risk groups, the country’s biggest metropolis, Istanbul, is classified as a high-risk city, while the capital, Ankara, falls into the medium-risk group. Most of the Black Sea provinces are classified as high-risk, while provinces in south-eastern Turkey are marked as low risk.
The new normalisation move comes, as Turkey vaccinated nearly nine percent of its total population, so far. Turkey yesterday reported 9,891 new cases, including 645 symptomatic ones, raising the total number in the country to 2,711,479, according to the health ministry.
Death toll rose by 69 to 28,638, while total recoveries climbed to 2,578,181, after 5,947 more cases recovered, in the last 24 hours. The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients stands at 3.6 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 1,215, said the ministry.
A total of 130,536 tests were conducted over the past day, bringing the overall number of tests to 33,305,552.
The country started mass vaccination on Jan 14, after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine. About 7,046,000 people have been vaccinated so far.