Erdoğan announces five-day lockdown as Turkey registers record 229 deaths
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday announced a five-day full nationwide lockdown starting on Dec.31 to stem the spread of the coronavirus as the daily deaths in the country hit a record 229.
The lockdown is set to begin at 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 until Jan. 4 at 5 a.m. state-run Anadolu news agency cited Erdoğan as saying in an address following a cabinet meeting.
Turkey on Monday recorded another 29,617 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours as the country’s total death toll from the virus hit 16,646.
Erdoğan on Monday touched on his government’s efforts in battling thenegative effects of the pandemic on the economy.
Turkey is set to close 2020 with a budget deficit below 4.5 percent, as opposed to goal of 4.9 percent, the Turkish president said while lauding the country for its low debt.
"Our first and foremost focus is to be among the top countries in the post-pandemic era," the Turkish president said, emphasising stability in Turkey’s banking sector.
"Our banks have a foreign currency surplus," Erdoğan said while noting the Turkish banking sector had operated normally even during the pandemic.
Erdoğan also called on all citizens to convert their money from foreign currency into the lira to support the country’s economy.
The Turkish lira has become the worst performing in the emerging market this year, losing 30 percent of its value since the start of 2020.