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Turkey to reopen its economy in late May

April 29, 2020 at 2:33 pm

Health officers take care of coronavirus patients at Medicana Kadikoy hospital in Istanbul, Turkey on 11 April 2020 [Şebnem Coşkun/Anadolu Agency]

Turkey hopes to restart its economy in late May after a sharp slowdown due to measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the spokesperson of the ruling AKP party Omer Celik said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the head of a group of Turkish malls announced the shopping centres are preparing to gradually reopen from 11 May, depending on demand from retailers and approval from the health advisory board.

In an interview with Reuters, Huseyin Altas of the Council of Shopping Centres said a planned phased reopening from 11 May would probably initially exclude cinemas, playgrounds and restaurants – where sticking to social distancing would be most challenging – until the government gives approval.

In Turkey, airports are closed as all international flights were banned on 27 March. All schools, universities, cafes, restaurants and congregational prayers in places of worship were suspended, and all sporting activities postponed indefinitely.

READ: Turkey’s steps to support economy over COVID-19 reach $29bn

With that outlook, Turkish Airlines yesterday extended the cancellation of flights by a week to 28 May.

Last month, the country introduced a 100 billion Turkish lira ($14.93 billion) stimulus package to safeguard individuals and firms against the pandemic.

The government announced it would support salary payments, postpone loans and provide flexibility for taxpayers to protect markets amid the uncertainty caused by the outbreak.

On Friday, the World Bank approved a $100 million loan to Turkey to support its efforts to fight COVID-19.

After originating in Wuhan, China, in December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions worldwide, with Europe and the US the worst affected.

The pandemic has killed more than 211,200 people worldwide, with the total number of infections exceeding 3.04 million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University of the US.

READ: Turkey stands with Britain to beat Covid-19