ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey will impose a weekday curfew and a full lockdown at weekends to combat the spread of the coronavirus, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, after new cases and deaths hit record highs.
Citizens will not be allowed to leave home between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays or at all at weekends, Erdogan said.
Some sectors, including supply chains and production, will be exempt from the measures which will begin on Tuesday, he said.
“We are taking steps carefully not to turn the health crisis into a full-blown economic and social crisis,” Erdogan said.
He said transmission in homes had increased and asked people to stop hosting guests until the risk decreases.
Turkey recorded 31,219 cases on Monday, data from the Health Ministry showed, placing it fourth globally as the highest number of daily new cases. It remains behind the United States, India and Brazil – all countries with far larger populations than Turkey.
For four months, Turkey reported symptomatic cases, but since Wednesday it has reported all cases. Historical data for the total number of cases is not yet available.
The death toll has hit record highs for eight consecutive days, with 188 recorded in the last 24 hours on Monday, data showed, raising the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 13,746.
Turkey has signed a contract to buy 50 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
Erdogan said Turkey would begin vaccinations in December and prioritise health workers.
(Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Janet Lawrence)