Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a countrywide lockdown to curb the surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths on Monday, April 26 . The lockdown between April 29 and May 15 was announced amid a fresh COVID-19 wave even though the number of cases declined over the past two days.
On Monday, Turkey recorded over 37,312 new cases and over 353 deaths. Though the number of cases is declining from a peak of over 60,000 infections last week, the number of daily deaths remains high. Turkey now has the world’s third largest number of daily new cases after India and the US.
After recording moderate numbers for months, Turkey’s total number of cases jumped tremendously in the second wave which started in the middle of March. The total number of active cases in the country has gone up to over 550,000 out of a total of 4.67 million reported cases, with over 38,700 deaths.
The new measures announced on Monday include complete shut down of schools, restricted public transport, and complete curfew except for essential services and goods. All workplaces will be shut except for food delivery and other emergency services. All intercity and public transport will operate at 50% capacity. Foreign tourists inside the country have been exempted from the lockdown.
Reacting to the announcement, the Turkish Communist Party demanded proper arrangements for the working class to enable them to cope with its economic fallout which otherwise creates inequality. Other opposition parties also demanded support for the poor during the lockdown.
— TKP International (@tkpinter) April 27, 2021
Erdogan said that the objective behind the lockdown was to bring the number of daily new cases below 5,000 so that Turkey is not left behind when most other European countries reopen after a prolonged period of restrictions.
Though Turkey started inoculations in mid-January, it is lagging in its targets due to shortage of vaccines. So far, over 15% of the population has received at least one dose. It has signed a deal to import over 100 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, and also to produce the Russian Sputnik V vaccine locally.