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President Erdoğan announces steps to start post-coronavirus normalization

President Erdoğan announces steps to start post-coronavirus normalization

Turkey will gradually take new steps to start post-coronavirus normalization, the nation’s president announced Monday.

In a televised address, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said travel restrictions will first be lifted from seven cities, namely Antalya, Aydin, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin, and Mugla.

He added that a National Solidarity Campaign to raise money to fight the virus and its impact had netted some 1.91 billion Turkish liras ($271 million) in donations.

The country will also reopen hair salons and shopping malls on May 11, while people over age 65 will be allowed to go outside for four hours a day on May 10, said Erdoğan.

On May 13 children up to age 14 will be able to go out within walking distance of their houses from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m., and people age 15-20 will be able to go out on May 15 under the same conditions.

‘Nothing will be like the normal we knew’

Erdoğan stressed that the curfews and limitations have greatly helped combat the epidemic and added that much of the country would face another curfew this coming weekend.

“Of course we will gradually go back to normal life, but we should not forget the reality that, as in the world and our country as well, nothing will be like the normal we knew.

“We do not know how long the epidemic will last, or when the cure for it or medications for it will be found,” he said.

Erdoğan said “a new type of normal” awaits the country and that some of the limitations will continue, though in relaxed form.

“Universities will be able to resume their academic calendar on June 15,” he said.

The president emphasized that there are still countries struggling with the virus so it is uncertain when international flights will resume.

He added that it is unknown what kind of a picture will emerge from the turmoil in global economic and political balances.

Masks for sale

As part of the normalization process, Erdoğan said they plan to allow the sale of masks, which they did not previously allow to be sold, adding that a standard price will be set.

Erdoğan stressed that since the virus emerged nearly 65,000 citizens have been brought back to Turkey from abroad.

Turkey has delivered coronavirus aid to at least 57 countries, including the US, Italy, Spain and the UK, he said, and remains the world’s third-largest provider of humanitarian aid during the pandemic.

COVID-19 cases have been reported in 187 countries and regions since it emerged in Wuhan, China last December, with the US and Europe the hardest-hit areas.

More than 3.53 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 248,000, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University. Over 1.13 million people have recovered.