Turkey's Erdoğan announces new measures to stem deadly coronavirus outbreak
Turkey has canceled all international flights, inter-city travels are subject to local governor's permission, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed in his remarks related to the deadly coronavirus outbreak on Friday. Erdoğan also said the citizens should not leave homes unless for shopping for basic needs, should implement "voluntary quarantine."
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Friday for a "voluntary quarantine" in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs to stem a surge of coronavirus cases, which jumped by a third in a day to 5,698 with 92 dead.
"If we don't want these measures to reach a further stage, we must abide by the voluntary quarantine rules verbatim. What does this voluntary quarantine mean? It means do not leave your house," Erdoğan told a press conference late on Friday.
Erdoğan also announced an end to all international flights, and said pandemic councils will be formed in Turkey's 30 biggest cities to take additional precautions if necessary.
"By taking care of social distancing at home and at work, by not using public transportation unless necessary, by not leaving the house apart from fundamental shopping needs, by taking care of our cleanliness, it is mandatory that we increase the effectiveness of these measures," he added.
Turkey's government says it is not disclosing the location of cases to prevent the risk of increasing transmission rates by encouraging people to move from areas with high rates to places where there are no or few cases.
Ramping up measures against the outbreak, Turkey also limited intercity bus travel and banned walks and fishing along the seashore and beaches, as well as jogging in forests and parks on weekends.
Local governors could decide to extend the decision to week days, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told an interview on NTV news channel.
One town and four villages in Turkey's Black Sea province of Rize have been quarantined over the coronavirus outbreak, the local mayor said on Friday, marking the country's first case of a lockdown.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 175 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 585,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll over 26,800 and around 129,800 recoveries.
Italy, China, Iran, and Spain continue to be the most affected countries.
Despite the rising number of cases, a vast majority of those infected with the virus suffer mild symptoms and recover.