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Turkey to be in full lockdown April 29 to May 17

In this photo taken on December 6, 2020 a deserted street with shops closed can be seen near Eminonu square in Istanbul during a week-end curfew aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus. - (Photo by Ozan KOSE / AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday announced a full lockdown from April 29 to May 17 to fight a surging third wave of coronavirus infections, Agence France-Presse reported.

The nation of 84 million has seen the daily COVID-19 death toll rise to around 350 — higher than during two previous spikes last year.

Turkey’s 37,312 new infections reported on Monday were the highest in Europe but still down from the peak of nearly 60,000 reported earlier this month.

“We must quickly reduce the number of cases to fewer than 5,000 a day,” Erdoğan said in a televised address.

He said Turkey would enter “a full closure” that requires people to stay indoors without a valid reason and sees all non-essential businesses closed.

Travel between regions will be restricted, and supermarkets will also be closed on Sundays for the first time.

The measures appear to be designed to avoid another spike around the time of traditional family gatherings and celebrations that take place when the holy month of Ramadan ends in mid-May.

The new restrictions come with Turkey falling considerably behind its planned inoculation schedule after a quick start in mid-January.

It has provided two shots to 8 million people and is pushing China to speed up the delivery of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine after securing a deal for 100 million doses.

Turkey has also received its first deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and has reached a deal with Russia to start producing Sputnik V locally.

Turkey’s official death toll from the virus now stands at 37,312.

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