Turkey extends coronavirus restrictions ahead of holiday weekend

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People wearing masks walk on the street in Ankara, Turkey, on Aug. 7, 2020. Turkey reported 1,185 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, raising the total diagnosed cases to 238,450, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
(Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

Turkey has extended an overnight curfew and other restrictions meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus ahead of a long holiday weekend.

Due to a national holiday on Friday, the extended restrictions will go into effect at 7 pm (1600 GMT) on Thursday and remain in place until 5 am (0200 GMT) on Monday, the Anadolu news agency reported, citing the interior ministry.

Turkey has been tightening restrictions in recent weeks as the coronavirus situation has steadily worsened.

People are currently only allowed to leave their homes on weekends during the day to go shopping near their homes using a special permit.

Tourists and travellers are exempt from the restrictions.

To coincide with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the government had already announced that sports venues would be closed. Weddings and other events were banned.

Cafes and restaurants are currently closed to diners and are only allowed to take delivery orders.

The number of new infections reported daily recently reached record levels. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported 61,967 new infections and 362 deaths related to Covid-19.

Last week, health workers took to the streets to protest against what they called the government’s failure to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Demonstrators’ demands included a strict lockdown and government transparency in official daily coronavirus data.

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