Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey has announced that it will be suspending all intercity trains and reducing the number of domestic flights as well. The decision was announced on March 28 and is another attempt by Turkey to contain the fast-growing coronavirus outbreak. Turkey has reported more than 5,000 coronavirus cases and the death toll in the country is at 92.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan asked the people of the country to voluntarily go into quarantine in which Turks are requested to stay at home barring shopping for essential goods and emergencies. According to reports, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi has revealed that domestic flights will only operate from Ankara and Istanbul to certain big cities. The restrictions will begin on March 28 at midnight.
As per reports, Turkey’s railway authority has also halted all intercity trains until further notice. Travel restrictions have also been imposed on citizens that state that citizens must remain in the cities they reside in and would only be allowed to leave following a doctor’s note or if they do not have any accommodation. As per reports, Turkey’s health ministry also announced that resignations were suspended for three months and that medical professionals in both the public and private sectors were barred from resigning during that period.
Ankara has already closed schools, cafes and bars, banned mass prayers and indefinitely postponed matches in its main sports leagues, as well as suspending flights to many countries as it looks to limit the spread of the virus. In the latest moves, the Interior Ministry said grocery stores and supermarkets' opening hours will be limited to between 9 am (0600 GMT) and 9 pm (2100 GMT), with a maximum of one customer for every 10 square meters of shop space. Buses within towns and between cities will not be allowed to exceed 50 per cent of the vehicle's capacity, with space to be kept between the passengers, the ministry statement said.
Separately, the Turkish Competition Board said on March 22 night there had been opportunists, excessive food price rises, notably for fruit and vegetable products, and said it would impose severe fines on those found to be responsible. On March 23 evening, the health minister said that Turkey will hire 32,000 more medical staff and stop exporting locally made face masks so its own services can use them as the coronavirus spreads across the country.