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Turkey mandates mask-wearing in all public areas

Turkey mandates mask-wearing in all public areas

In a new measure to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey on Tuesday mandated the wearing of masks in all public areas.

“Citizens are obliged to wear masks without exception in all areas (public areas, avenues, streets, parks, gardens, picnic areas, beaches, public transportation vehicles, workplaces, factories, etc.) across the country (excluding residences),” said an Interior Ministry circular sent to all 81 of Turkey’s provinces nationwide.

The circular also prohibited food and entertainment establishments from having live or recorded music after midnight.

“No music (including live music, recordings, etc.) will be allowed under any circumstances in restaurants, cafes, hotels, and all similar food and beverage or entertainment venues after 24:00,” said the circular.

Turkish officials have long encouraged the use of social distancing, masks, and proper hygiene to stem the virus’ spread, but this is the first such nationwide mask rule.

Turkey to date has seen a total of 6,730 deaths due to COVID-19, while over 252,000 people have recovered from the disease. There have been nearly 281,500 confirmed cases in the country.

On Monday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported just over 1,700 new coronavirus cases along with more than 1,000 recoveries.

Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, India, and Brazil are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.

The pandemic has killed more than 893,000 people worldwide, with infections of almost 27.4 million and recoveries of nearly 18.4 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.