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04 Apr 2020


Description of the measures taken to achieve “social distancing” (curfew, lockdown, mandatory shop closures, duration etc.) and how these measures are accepted by the public

After its first confirmed case on 11 March 2020, Turkey has taken a large number of serious and rapid safety measures and precautions to achieve social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We tried to summarize those measures and precautions as follows.

Within the scope of travel restrictions, all international flights are temporarily banned and the border gates are closed and those who came from abroad before the cancellation of international flights were quarantined for 14 days whereas all intercity public transportation (including air transport) is subject to the permission of the relevant governorate. Also vehicles are stopped at the entrances and exits of cities and citizens' fever are measured. Those with high fever are quarantined for 14 days.

At midnight on 21 March 2020, a curfew was introduced for those aged over 65 or with a chronic ailment. Those people are restricted from leaving home or walking in open areas such as parks and gardens. However, vital public officials and pharmacists as well as doctors, healthcare professionals, mayors, provincial directors, social service officers and other required public officials are exempt from the restrictions and can continue to work so long as they do not face any serious health conditions such as cancer.

Besides the curfew for citizens over 65 years old or with a chronic ailment, all citizens are constantly being warned by the governmental authorities not to leave their houses unless they really need to.

Since educational facilities could be dangerous in terms of the spread of the disease due to composition of numerous people, all schools are closed until 30 April 2020 and distance education via online channels and TV was introduced on 23 March 2020. Also the universities were closed down for 3 weeks as of 16 March 2020 at first and then, the Council of Higher Education decided that there will be no face-to-face education at universities in the spring semester. In addition, the university entrance exam is postponed 1 month to be held on July 25-26.

Additionally, all cultural and art activities, scientific activities, conferences, meetings etc. were postponed until the end of April while the entertainment places such as bars, casinos, night clubs, museums and libraries and common places where people usually get together such as cafés, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, wedding halls, gyms, indoor children playgrounds, funeral houses, etc. were temporarily closed.

While the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services published a guideline on the measures to be taken at work places, flexible working methods such as remote working and rotational working were introduced for public institutions and organizations and the President announced that such flexible working methods will also apply to private sector.

We can say that the measures were generally accepted by the public; however, the rate of people staying at home has not yet reached the desired level since the curfew is only for those over 65 or with a chronic ailment. Also, despite the curfew, there are some persons older than 65 who still insist not to stay at their homes. Administrative sanctions will be imposed to those persons and if they still do not comply with the curfew despite imposition of an administrative sanction, criminal actions will be carried out against them.