A partial weekend curfew was imposed again on Saturday and Sunday for millions in Turkey amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
Interior Ministry data showed a rise in the number of people violating the restrictions, though the figure was still relatively low. The ministry announced Monday that 12,671 people were subject to “legal or administrative measures” for not complying with the curfew on Saturday and Sunday. This number was 9,583 during the first weekend curfew imposed in months on Nov. 21-22. Violations are punished with fines handed out by police officers patroling cities at the time of the curfew.
The curfew is enforced between 8 p.m. Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday, and 8 p.m. Sunday and 5 a.m. Monday. The Interior Ministry said in a written statement that people largely complied with the curfew and thanked the nation “for the patience and sacrifice they made in this difficult process.”
Although recoveries from the coronavirus have exceeded 400,000, Turkey is confronting an apparent second wave of the outbreak. The overall tally of patients reached 494,351 as of Sunday, while the death toll now stands at 13,558.
"The number of seriously ill patients continues to increase. Support our health care professionals who efficiently bear this burden. Add strength to this fight by better following the measures," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter after the latest COVID-19 figures were announced Sunday evening.
The country is expected to announce further restrictions following Monday’s Cabinet meeting as experts and authorities warn of a worsening coronavirus outbreak across the country. Several members of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board have already warned that they might issue new recommendations to the government for restrictions if the cases continue climbing. “If personal precautions fail to contain the virus, official restrictions could be imposed. The government has already announced official restrictions, but if they fail to lower the case and patient numbers, they can be expanded and new, harsher measures could be unveiled,” board member Afşin Emre Kayıpmaz told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Sunday.
After having a relatively unrestricted summer with the case numbers following a linear path for much of the season, Turkey had to reintroduce several restrictions this month as infection rates across the country worsened with the arrival of fall and the accompanying flu season. Along with the weekend curfew, Turkey restricted senior citizens aged 65 and older and youth aged 20 and younger from going out except between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Schools have also been closed. Other measures include a ban on restaurants and cafes from hosting customers, and they may only serve takeout or delivery orders.
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