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Turkey takes further steps to ease restrictions amid virus outbreak

Turkey takes further steps to ease restrictions amid virus outbreak

Turkey on Thursday further eased coronavirus restrictions as it made advances in its fight against the pandemic.

As of June 1, civil servants on administrative leave or working remotely will return to their workplaces, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following a Cabinet meeting held via video conferencing.

Referring to the travel ban in 15 major cities, he said intercity travel ban in Turkey will be lifted as of next month.

Earlier in April, Turkey imposed the country’s first travel ban across 31 provinces to stem the spread of the virus and later lifted it partially.

He went on to say excluding places of entertainment, enterprises such as restaurants, patisseries, cafes, tea gardens, swimming pools, and hot springs will also reopen.

Also, the motorway service area will begin to serve on June 1, he said.

Moreover, beaches, parks, gardens, driving courses, restaurants, archaeological sites, libraries, youth centers and camps, and museums in Turkey will reopen on the same day.

Daycare centers and kindergartens will also reopen starting June, he said.

Meanwhile, restrictions on individual sports have ended, while restrictions on sea tourism, fishing, and transportation were also lifted within the determined rules, Erdogan added.

Additionally, Turkey lifted curfew on children under age 18 on Wednesdays and Fridays between 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., he added.

The curfew will continue for people over age 65 except Sundays between 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., he said.

He added that during the lockdown the government’s Vefa social support groups reached out to over 6.2 million people by providing them essential services at home.

Turkey, so far, has evacuated 75,000 citizens from 126 different countries amid the coronavirus lockdown, he said.

“Turkey responded to calls for help from 100 out of 135 countries that asked for help against COVID-19,” he said.

The pandemic has claimed more than 357,700 lives in 188 countries and regions since originating in China last December. The US and Europe are currently the world’s worst-hit regions.

Nearly 5.93 million cases have been reported worldwide. Nearly 2.39 million people have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

On Thursday, Turkey confirmed 160,979 cases, while recoveries surpassed 124,000. The virus has killed nearly 4,500 people so far, according to the Health Ministry data.