Severity: Critical Alert
Entry/Exit: Turkey to lift coronavirus disease-related intercity travel ban, other restrictions from June 1. International flights remain suspended.
This alert affects Turkey
This alert began 28 May 2020 22:36 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: From June 1
- Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions
Authorities in Turkey will lift the nation's existing intercity travel ban starting June 1, as part of their coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery plan. At the same time, a number of different types of establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen, including cafes, restaurants, bars, beaches, daycare centers and kindergartens, archaeological sites, museums, camps, and libraries. Moreover, civil servants who are on leave or working from home will return to their workplaces. Authorities will also lift restrictions on individual sports, maritime tourism, and fishing
Intercity train service resumed on certain routes serving Ankara, Istanbul, Eskisehir, and Konya as of May 28. Authorities have indicated that places of worship may be allowed to gradually reopen from May 29.
Certain land, air, and sea travel restrictions remain in place; freight and emergency transport operations are exempt. Some international commercial passenger flights departing Turkey for major cities in Europe and the US are occurring on an ad hoc basis; however, service is very limited and sporadic. Departure schedules and flight availability may vary significantly from week to week. Additionally, individual airlines have suspended operations, with Turkish Airlines (TK) halting regularly scheduled flights until at least June 4, and Pegasus Airlines (PC) suspending their commercial flights until at least June 3.
Authorities continue to urge residents to stay at home - unless performing essential tasks - and to comply with social distancing rules. Face masks are mandatory in crowded areas. Other restrictions include:
- All regularly scheduled international passenger flights are suspended indefinitely.
- All resignations of public and private health personnel are suspended through at least June 27.
- No more than 50 people are allowed inside an enclosed marketplace at a time.
- Residents returning to Turkey 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.
- Residents over age 65 are permitted to leave their homes for four hours daily from May 11.
The further easing or reimplementation of restrictions will be 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.
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.