The municipalities of Istanbul and Ankara announced that passengers not wearing masks will not be allowed in mass transit starting on Saturday as a measure against the COVID-19 outbreak. Istanbul Municipality’s spokesman Murat Ongun tweeted that the ban will cover passengers of buses, metro, metrobuses and sea transportation. Ongun also said that 118 personnel of the municipality tested positive for coronavirus. The highest death toll in Turkey from COVID-19 is in Istanbul with 210 fatalities so far.
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş also took to Twitter to announce a similar ban starting on Saturday. Yavaş said they would also distribute masks for free for passengers. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu also tweeted that they would distribute 100,000 masks to passengers at mass transit stations.
Turkey has taken a series of other measures to try to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, from closing schools, quarantining around 50 towns and areas and imposing a 24-hour curfew for people 65 or older.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced earlier that wearing face masks would be mandatory in areas where people are collectively located, including supermarkets, marketplaces and workplaces.