Turkey imposes two-day lockdown as deaths pass 1,000

Turkish authorities have imposed a two-day lockdown in 31 cities as the death toll from Covid-19 passed 1,000 on 10 April.

The lockdown went into effect in 30 metropolitan cities and the northern Zonguldak province at midnight on 10 April. It will continue until midnight on 12 April.

Zonguldak is a major coal-mining hub where lung disease is widely seen. The authorities have imposed here the same restrictions as in metropolitan cities like Istanbul.

Turkish government announced that bakeries, pharmacies and postal services would remain open about an hour after they issued the lockdown, prompting a rush to markets in the meantime.

Photos and videos circulating on social media suggested that social distancing rules were not observed.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu later told pro-government CNN Turk news channel that there was “no need to rush” as basic needs would be provided for.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on 10 April that there were 4,747 new cases in the country within the last 24 hours and 98 people died of the virus, the highest in a single day since the first case was confirmed on 11 March.

This brought the total number of Covid-19 fatalities in the country to 1,006.

The speed of the number of patients receiving intensive care is slowing but “it should not relieve us”, Koca said.

He emphasised that “the next two weeks is very important”.