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Turkey opposition calls for 'stay at home' order over coronavirus

March 29, 2020 at 2:35 pm

Tapes were pulled to the benches by officials at Kizilay Square to keep people away from each other within coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions on March 25, 2020 in Ankara, Turkey [Esra Hacioğlu / Anadolu Agency]

Turkey halted inter-city trains and limited domestic flights on Saturday, as the main opposition called for a stay-at-home order after coronavirus cases surged to more than 7,000, reported Reuters.

President Tayyip Erdogan called on Friday for a “voluntary quarantine” in which Turks stay at home except for shopping or basic needs to help contain the fast-growing outbreak.

On Saturday, the death toll from the outbreak rose by 16 to 108, as the number of confirmed cases jumped by 1,704 to 7,402, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) called for a stay-at-home order to be imposed urgently.

“At this stage, it is evident that we need a comprehensive, wide and effective stay-at-home and quarantine,” CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a statement on Saturday. He added:

It is not possible to solve this issue with campaigns like ‘Stay Home Turkey’ and by leaving it to the will and initiative of our citizens while not providing any wage or job security and abandoning them to fate.

Erdogan announced further measures to contain the spread of the virus, halting international flights, inter-city trains and making other domestic travel subject to a governor’s approval.

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Speaking to reporters, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the use of public transportation had fallen by more than 90%. He said a system had been set up at the border of every province to check the health of anyone travelling.

On Friday, Turkish authorities quarantined one town and four villages in the Black Sea province of Rize over the outbreak. On Saturday two more villages in the Van and Yozgat provinces were quarantined, their local governors said.

Turkey has already placed limitations on the use of public spaces, imposed a partial curfew for senior citizens, closed shops, restaurants, bars, parks and more.

The rate of increase in infections in Turkey has outstripped many other countries in the last two weeks, with 1,704 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Read: Turkey halts intercity trains, limits domestic flights over virus outbreak