The Interior Ministry said Sunday evening that 24,088 people face legal proceedings for not complying with the curfew imposed this weekend across 31 Turkish provinces to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The ministry added that legal action will be taken against shops, grocery stores and other businesses that were supposed to be closed during the curfew but remained open.
The announcement came three hours before the lifting of the curfew at midnight on Sunday.
Turkey has imposed restrictions on daily life in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Though an early response to the crisis has stemmed the number of those infected, the country has had mixed success in limiting public mobility, especially on weekends and given rising temperatures. With this in mind, a weekend curfew declared Friday in over 31 mainly urban provinces came as no surprise for many, despite having been announced only two hours before implementation.
Streets, avenues and main squares across the country have been void of activity this weekend in the wake of the curfew imposed by the Interior Ministry.
Turkey already had a curfew in place for those above the age of 65 and those under 20, yet stopped short of a full lockdown. The government has, until now, relied on the public’s compliance with calls for self-isolation. Authorities have called on people repeatedly to impose their own quarantine or lockdown measures.
Turkey was one of the first countries to take measures against the coronavirus, closing its border with Iran and halting flights from China and Italy. It has since shut down all international arrivals, restricted domestic flights and set up road checkpoints outside cities to prevent unessential travel.
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