Erdogan Urges Voluntary Lockdown as Turkey Deaths Top 100

(Bloomberg) --

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced new measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, imposing further restrictions on people’s movement and banning large gatherings. The number of fatalities from the pandemic reached 108.

Addressing the nation from Istanbul late Friday, Erdogan said everyone must observe “voluntary quarantine” or face more stringent controls.

The Turkish leader announced all flights abroad were suspended and that intercity travel was banned unless officially authorized. Some public areas such as picnic spots will be closed during weekends and large groups won’t be allowed in on weekdays. The governors of Turkey’s 30 largest cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, were granted greater powers to implement the limitations, he said.

Bilal Eksi, the chief executive officer of Turkish Airlines, said in a Twitter post that domestic flights would be limited between 14 cities starting from Sunday. In normal circumstances, the flagship carrier flies to 42 domestic destinations, according to its website.

Low-cost airline Pegasus said all domestic flights between March 28 and April 30 have been canceled. In a separate statement, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport said no domestic or international flights will take place from its terminal “for a while.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkey has tested 7,641 people over the last 24 hours, diagnosing 1,704 new infections. The total number of cases rose to 7,402, the minister said in a Twitter post.

Turkey, a nation of 83 million, had its first coronavirus case March 11, while the first fatality occurred March 17.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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