Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Turkey tightens certain coronavirus-related restrictions as of Sept. 8 following nationwide increase in disease activity.

Alert Begins 09 Sep 2020 10:00 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Turkey have tightened certain restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) following a nationwide increase in infection rates. As of Sept. 8, all persons nationwide must wear protective face coverings while in public. Moreover, new social distancing guidelines impose stricter limits on the number of passengers allowed to occupy standing room on public transportation. Under the new directives, no passengers are allowed to ride while standing on minibuses or vans; standing is permitted at 50 percent capacity on the metro and trams in Ankara and Istanbul. Passengers may occupy up to 30 percent of the standing capacity on buses and metrobuses nationwide.

Other restrictions largely remain unchanged. Turkish residents over the age of 65 are only permitted to leave their homes between 1000-2000 daily, and Turks under the age of 18 are only permitted to travel in the company of a parent or guardian; these measures do not apply to foreign nationals in Turkey. Turkish nationals and residents are required to obtain a government-provided Hayat Eve Sigar (HES) code before international or intercity travel on public transport.

Authorities have lifted many of the harshest restrictions, including the nation's intercity travel ban. Intercity rail travel has resumed on certain routes serving Istanbul, Ankara, Eskisehir, and Konya. Turkey allowed the resumption of international travel from June 12; the country's air, land, and sea borders have reopened for most travelers. However, nonessential travel with Iran and Iraq remains suspended. All travelers are required to undergo a health screening on arrival. Individuals displaying symptoms must submit to a COVID-19 test and undergo a 14-day quarantine if positive; all testing and quarantine-related costs are to be covered by the traveler. Most businesses and facilities are permitted to reopen, provided certain hygiene measures are implemented.

All measures are subject to change at short notice, including possible impositions of citywide curfews.

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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