Turkey partially eases COVID-19 restrictions
As Turkey’s vaccination campaign continues apace, an easing of coronavirus restrictions is beginning based on conditions in individual provinces, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Monday night.
Weekend curfews, in place since December, will be lifted in low- and medium-risk provinces, while restrictions on Sunday will continue “for a while” in provinces classified as high risk or very high risk, Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting at the presidential complex.
"Face-to-face education will start in low- and medium-risk provinces of Turkey, including in middle and high schools," he added.
Erdogan also said that all preschool education institutions across Turkey, as well as elementary schools and grades 8 and 12, will resume in-person classes.
"Apart from the general practice, only face-to-face exams in high schools will be held in our high-risk and very high-risk provinces," Anadolu Agency cited him as saying.
As of this Tuesday, face-to-face education will begin across the country in all preschool education institutions, primary schools, and grades 8 and 12, according to the National Education Ministry.
In low- and medium-risk provinces, face-to-face education will start full-time in preschool institutions and with divided classes in primary schools two days a week.
Distance education will continue in groups and cities not covered by face-to-face education. Participation in face-to-face education will depend on parental consent.
Special education schools and classes across the country will also start full-time, face-to-face education.
The public will return to normal working hours throughout Turkey, while governor's offices will make different arrangements if needed, Erdogan said.
"The more people abide by pandemic measures, the faster they will ensure their provinces shift to normalization," he explained.
"The decision to tighten or loosen measures will be made according to the improvement or worsening of the pandemic [situation] in each of our provinces," said Erdogan.
However, the country's nationwide curfew from 9.00 pm to 5.00 am will continue, Erdogan added.
The color-coded risk map of Turkey’s 81 provinces will be redone every week according to the risk situation, and the normalization practice will be updated every two weeks, he added.
Businesses such as restaurants and cafes will be open with 50% capacity from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., except in very high-risk provinces, he announced.
General assemblies of NGOs, trade groups, cooperatives, and similar organizations can be held in low-, medium- and high-risk provinces with the participation of up to 300 people, he said.
Erdogan went on to say that in low- and medium-risk provinces, wedding ceremonies up to one hour long can be held with up to 100 people attending, and with a maximum of 50 people in high-risk and very high-risk provinces.
On the country's successful vaccination campaign, Erdogan also mentioned that having done 9 million coronavirus jabs, Turkey is one of only five countries worldwide that have already vaccinated 10% of their populations.
Turkey's vaccination campaign began on Jan. 14. As of Monday, Turkey registered a total of 28.638 deaths from COVID-19, while over 2.57 million people have recovered from the disease. There have been over 2.7 million confirmed cases in the country.