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Turkey to begin easing coronavirus restrictions next week

Shopping malls, barbershops, and some stores will be allowed to reopen on 11 May as number of new cases stabilise
A woman wearing a facemask and a faceshield for protective measures walks among the stalls of a market in Istanbul on 17 April (AFP/File photo)

Turkey will begin easing coronavirus restrictions on 11 May, with shopping malls, barbershops and some stores allowed to re-open as the number of new Covid-19 cases begin to stabilise.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech after a cabinet meeting on Monday that a full curfew on seniors and youth will be relaxed, allowing those within the two age groups to travel outside for four hours, once a week.

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He also said inter-city travel restrictions that had been implemented in seven provinces will also be lifted, excluding the major cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Meanwhile, other restrictions will be eased over the course of the next few months. 

Universities are set to open on 15 June, Erdogan said.

Erdogan said that social distancing measures should continue to be respected, warning that the government would impose harsher restrictions if rules are not followed. 

Downward trajectory

The daily death toll has been on a downward trajectory in Turkey for the last two weeks. On Saturday, Turkey's new positive case tally fell below 2,000 for the first time since 30 March, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter at the time.

Turkey announced its first case of the coronavirus on 10 March and quickly became one of the countries most affected by the pandemic. 

On Monday, Turkey had reported at least 127,659 total cases, making it the eighth-most affected country in the world. It has also reported at least 3,461 deaths.

With over 3,620,000 cases worldwide, the virus has killed more than a quarter of a million people. 

Last week Turkey announced it had lifted restrictions on the export of medical supplies, a move expected to facilitate the sale of equipment to western countries where there have been shortages. Unlike other countries, Turkey has no shortage of respirators or masks.

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