Turkey will lift restrictions on intercity travel and allow restaurants, cafes, parks and sports facilities to reopen from June 1 as it eases restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday.
Museums and beaches will also open from June 1, Erdoğan said after a cabinet meeting. He said restrictions would remain in place on the movements of those aged over 65 and under 18.
In a televised address, Erdoğan also said public sector workers, except for those with chronic illnesses, will return to their workplaces on June 1, while child care facilities will be allowed to resume their services.
"Under the new normal order, let us not neglect masks, distancing and hygiene," Erdoğan said in a televised address.
In early April, Turkey halted travel between 31 cities, including Istanbul, excluding transit passage and essential supplies. It subsequently reduced the restrictions to 15 cities but they will end too on June 1.
The president also said that a stay-at-home order for people aged 65 and over, and for minors will remain for a while longer. Youths aged 19 and 20 will now be allowed outdoors, he said.
"During the lockdown, the Vefa social support groups reached out to over 6.2 million people by providing them essential services," Erdoğan pointed out.
Among other easing measures, Turkey began operating intercity trains on Thursday after a two-month gap and mosques will begin allowing mass prayers on May 29.
Turkey, so far, has evacuated 75,000 citizens from 126 different countries amid the coronavirus lockdown, he said in a statement.
"Turkey responded to calls for help from 100 out of 135 countries that asked for help against COVID-19," Erdoğan concluded.
The pandemic has claimed more than 357,700 lives in 188 countries and regions since originating in China last December. The US and Europe are currently the world's worst-hit regions.
Nearly 5.93 million cases have been reported worldwide. Nearly 2.39 million people have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.
On Thursday, Turkey confirmed 160,979 cases, while recoveries surpassed 124,000. The virus has killed nearly 4,500 people so far, according to the Health Ministry data.