Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Turkey set to ease certain COVID-19-related restrictions from May 11. Other restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Turkey

This alert began 04 May 2020 19:44 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: From May 11
  • Impact: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions; significant travel and business disruptions remain

Summary
Turkish authorities on May 4 announced that starting May 11 they will ease certain coronavirus disease (COVID-1)-related restrictions in the country. The easing restrictions are:

  • Travel restrictions will be lifted in the provinces of Antalya, Aydin, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin, and Mugla from May 11; the travel restrictions remain in place in the rest of the country.
  • Hair salons, shopping malls, and some stores will be allowed to reopen from May 11.
  • People over age 65 will be permitted to leave their homes for four hours daily from May 11.
  • From May 13, youth under the age of 14 will be allowed within walking distance of their homes from 1100-1500.


A ban on travel remains in place that applies to all traffic via land, air, and sea, with the exception of freight and emergency vehicles and for travel within the seven aforementioned provinces. Residents may also travel outside their city or district to attend funerals or receive medical care; however, they must still remain within their province. Residents can apply to the Travel Permission Council to receive exceptional authorization for travel. Additionally, airlines have suspended all domestic flights; Turkish Airlines (TK) until May 28 at least, and Pegasus Airlines (PC) until May 15, at least.

Authorities have previously urged citizens to stay at home. Face masks are mandatory in crowded areas. Officials have banned picnics, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities and closed public squares, beaches, and parks. Other restrictions include the following:

  • All international flights are suspended indefinitely, with the exception of cargo flights.
  • All resignations of public and private health personnel are suspended through at least June 27.
  • The aale of nonessential items is prohibited.
  • No more than 50 people are allowed inside an enclosed marketplace at a time.
  • Residents returning to the country must be tested for COVID-19 on arrival, potentially resulting in quarantine or other mobility restrictions.
  • Turkey's borders with Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, and Iraq are closed indefinitely; freight trucks are still permitted to cross, subject to health screening.
  • All education facilities, restaurants, bars, and cafes are closed, and all sporting events and mass religious events are suspended indefinitely.


The implementation of future recovery stages is contingent upon no major increase in disease activity over the coming weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice

Background and Analysis
Turkey's travel restrictions and preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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