Turkey will impose a fresh lockdown next weekend as part of measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, after a 48-hour curfew in 31 provinces that ended at midnight.
The curfew covered all Turkey’s major cities including its commercial hub Istanbul, which is home to 16 million residents. People had rushed to shops to stock up on supplies on Friday, when the weekend lockdown was announced at short notice.
Erdogan said another lockdown would be imposed next weekend and more may be in store for Turkey and that measures would be taken to ensure that a similar scramble is not repeated.
“In our cabinet meeting, we have decided to continue the weekend lockdowns when deemed necessary,” he said.
Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Turkey rose to 61,049 on Monday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, while the death toll reached 1,296.
Erdogan rejected the resignation on Sunday of Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who said he was stepping down in the wake of the short-notice lockdown.
In addition to the weekend lockdown, Ankara has closed schools, bars and cafes, halted mass prayers, restricted domestic travel and imposed stay-at-home orders on those over 65 years of age and below 20 to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Ankara has considered funding options to cushion the economic impact of the outbreak, but has ruled out seeking support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Erdogan said that Turkey would not “bow down to any imposition,” including a deal with the IMF.