Ankara implements curfew on elderly residents again, exempts MPs

The Ankara Public Health Council under the Turkish capital’s governorate decided to implement new COVID-19 restrictions following Tuesday’s meeting, the governorate said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic “continues to have an impact in all countries,” the governorate said. “Especially in the European continent, the pandemic is on an uptick, and many European countries have implemented measures to prvent mass gatherings of individuals.”

The capital will implement a curfew on residents over the age of 65 every day between 10:00 and 16:00 every day, with some groups exempted.

Turkey had used nationwide curfews on the elderly and the young, restricting movement for residents above 65 and below 20 for the majority of the early months of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The curfew on the elderly was partially lifted on June 10, after the country lifted most restrictions on June 1, in what health organisations have called a too rapid progression.

Healthcare personnel and social workers, as well as elected public officials are exempted from the curfew.

Those who are still actively working and can prove their status via social security documents will also be exempted.

There is no set date for an end to the curfew, and those found in violation will be prosecuted in accordance with the Turkish Penal Code Article 195, “going against measures on contagious diseases,” which was amended in March to include the novel coronavirus.

Turkey lost 87 people on Tuesday, with 2,529 new patients diagnosed, according to the latest Health Ministry figures. There are currently 3,001 people registered as severely ill, while the country’s total death toll stands at 11,059.

There are still at least 45,800 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, with cases continuing an upward trajectory since the ease of measures for the summer. The figures may be higher as the Health Ministry’s public announcement system has come under fire for not including all infections.

Turkey’s top medical association TTB has accused the ministry of underreporting by at least 350,000 infections, and reported on Monday that a total of 143 healthcare workers have lost their lives due to COVID-19, which it believes should be recognised as a workplace hazard.