On April 26, 2021, President ERDOGAN announced after a cabinet meeting new measures to curb a surge in coronavirus infections and deaths.
Turks will stay mostly at home under a nationwide “full lockdown” starting on April 27, 2021, and lasting until May 17, 2021.
President ERDOGAN wants to prevent a second lost year of tourism revenues.
After the last cabinet meeting two weeks ago, as coronavirus cases surged, ERDOGAN reined in social activities and travel.
Total daily cases then peaked above 63.000 on April 16 before dropping sharply to below 39.000 on April 25, 2021.
“Cases … have been falling for a few days but this is not enough. A full shutdown will be on the cabinet’s agenda and this option should be implemented” an official told Reuters.
Fahrettin KOCA the Health Minister said on April 23, 2021, the latest restrictions had shown some results including a 20 % fall in cases in Istanbul and fewer hospital patients, though they were still a burden on intensive care units.
Turkey has registered a total of 4.63 million COVID-19 cases, with the death toll standing at 38.358.
A total of 268.893 tests were conducted over the past day, with the overall number of tests in Turkey reaching 46.153.151.
Turkey started mass vaccination against the COVID-19 on Jan. 14 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine. More than 13.334.000 people have been vaccinated so far.
Russia in April restricted flights to and from Turkey until June 1. Ankara said the move could cut tourist numbers by some 500.000.
A drop by 2/3 in tourism revenues last year ballooned Turkey’s current account deficit, putting pressure on its depleted FX reserves and sending the lira to a record low in November.
“Tourism is of critical importance for foreign exchange inflows,” a Turkish official said. “So as not to miss out totally on the tourism season, these measures must be implemented strictly”.
This article was edited using the data from Aljazeera.com, Reuters.com, Xinhuanet.com, and Arabnews.com.