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Turkey Quarantines Largest Cities to Slow Coronavirus Outbreak

Firat Kozok and Constantine Courcoulas
Turkey Quarantines Largest Cities to Slow Coronavirus Outbreak

(Bloomberg) --

Turkey imposed stricter measures to slow the spread of the country’s coronavirus outbreak by placing 31 cities under quarantine and banning people under the age of 20 from leaving their homes nationwide.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the measures -- which prohibits entries into and exit from Turkey’s largest cities, including the commercial hub Istanbul for 15 days -- in a televised address on Friday after the death toll from the disease rose 19% to 425 and the number of confirmed cases rose 15% to 20,921.

Turks over the age of 65 have been told not to venture out since March 22 as authorities seek to protect some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. A board of top scientists urged the government to broaden those restrictions to younger people, whose mobility has emerged as a key weakness in the strategy against the virus, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Below is a brief summary of the Turkish president’s speech:

The quarantine initially holds for 15 days and applies to Turkey’s major cities such as Istanbul, where a bulk of the cases have been identified. The province of Zonguldak, where respiratory illnesses are more common than elsewhere, is also includedWearing a mask in public places and crowded factories is now mandatory for everyoneThe government’s strategy is to make sure that people leave their homes only for work or to meet basic needs

Turkey Imposes Curfew for People Over 65 as Virus Toll Rises

The quarantine marks a possible turning point for Turkey, which has so far avoided strict lockdowns imposed in other parts of the world. Earlier in the outbreak, Turkey suspended flights from abroad, intercity travel was banned unless officially authorized and schools will remain shut for at least another month.

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