Turkey eases pandemic measures further, vows to boost economy

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Erdoğan on March 18, 2020 hold a meeting with his party management over coronavirus outbreak.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday Turkey was largely lifting stay-at-home orders for people aged 65 and older and for youngsters as part of a further easing of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Turkey had already lifted restrictions on intercity travel and allowed restaurants, cafes, parks and sports facilities to reopen on June 1 after a sharp slowdown in the number of new cases and fatalities due to COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the virus.

In a televised statement following a cabinet meeting, Erdoğan also said his government would provide incentives to boost employment and would support industry to maintain export and production-oriented growth to revive the economy.

“We will support employment for young people under 25 and enable them to get [work] experience,” he said, adding that “normalization support” would be provided to employers.

The Turkish economy is expected to tip into recession as a result of the government’s containment measures, but Erdoğan has said there will be a quick recovery.

He said a stay-at-home order for those aged under 18, in place for two months, was lifted on condition that young children were accompanied by parents, while people aged 65 and older were to be allowed out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Cinemas, theaters and wedding halls will open from July 1, while restaurants and cafes will be able to remain open until midnight, two hours later than previously allowed, he added.

Health Ministry data showed 993 new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed on Tuesday, bringing the total number to more than 172,000, with more than 4,700 deaths.

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