Turkey Eases Virus Curbs as Lockdown Offers Summer Season Hope

Turkey will ease its virus restrictions from Monday as new cases of Covid-19 decline following a three-week lockdown, offering some hope for the key summer tourist season.

Coronavirus cases plummeted to 11,472 on Saturday from a record high of 63,082 a month ago, though that’s still above the target of no more than 5,000 cases set by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he announced the national lockdown from April 29.

Most travel restrictions will be lifted but nighttime and weekend curfews will remain in place, and restaurants will only open for food deliveries, according to an Interior Ministry decree on Sunday. The government fears that a new surge in infections could see a wave of hotel cancellations at the beginning of the holiday period, a critical generator of revenue for Turkey.

If tourists don’t return to Turkish beaches this year, the nation’s current-account balance and lira are likely to be hit.

On Saturday, Turkey ended a requirement that tourists from 14 countries, including the U.K., provide a negative virus test to enter. But it removed Israel from the list of exempted countries after accusing it of using excessive force against Palestinian militants in Gaza, leading to civilian deaths.

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