Turkey adopts 'partial closure' for Ramadan as virus surges

FILE PHOTO: Mahya master Ramazan Kizilkaya and Cemil Buyurkan take part in the installation of the mahya at the top of one of the minarets of Yeni New mosque, as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Istanbul, Turkey, April 27, 2020. Picture taken April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced several new restrictions and a “partial closure” for the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to curb surging coronavirus infections.

Turkey ranks fourth globally in new COVID-19 cases, which hit nearly 56,000 on Saturday – a five-fold jump from early March when Erdogan loosened social curbs. On Monday the health minister warned of a “third peak” in the pandemic.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said the duration of a weekday curfew had been extended, announced limitations on intercity travel and public transport, and banned all events in closed spaces until after Ramadan. He also said some grades would go back to online schooling.

The new measures will go into effect on Wednesday night and the steps would be re-evaluated in two weeks.

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