Turks Getting Ready for Their First Full Lockdown
The streets are crowded, the shopping centres busy and the traffic heavy.
Some rush to the main bus terminal to get out of Istanbul, while others are trying to stockpile alcohol amid news of a "booze ban".
This is the mood as Turkey prepares to enter its first full lockdown of the pandemic, to curb a surge in infections and deaths.
WhatsApp groups are now dominated by messages about how life will be in the coming days.
This time last year, Turkey was seen as a success story for its early combative action and was even praised by the WHO.
One year on, it is among the countries worst affected by Covid, with the highest infection rate in Europe.
Following a second period of restrictions starting last November, the number of daily cases fell to around 6,000 at one point in mid-February.
But as soon as the government started to ease the restrictions in March, a new wave struck Turkey.
The government then U-turned to re-impose restrictions at the beginning of April. However, that was not enough to curb the spread of infections.
At its height in April, there were more than 60,000 new cases a day and more than 300 deaths.
According to critics, the government lifted restrictions too early and the vaccination process has not been fast enough.
Scientists also say the new variants, especially the UK (Kent) strain, have accelerated the infection rate.
What are the new measures?
- People will have to stay at home except for essential shopping trips and urgent medical treatment
- All travel between cities will require official approval
- Schools will close and strict capacity limits will be imposed on users of public transport
- Alcohol sales are being limited
- Some businesses are exempt from the new restrictions.
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