According to local sources, Turkish Airlines has announced plans to resume domestic flights and some international flights from June amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The airline is expected to resume flights to 22 cities (19 countries) in June and gradually add destinations through July and August. The 19 countries that flights will resume to are: Canada, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Belarus, Israel, Kuwait, Georgia, and Lebanon.
Separately, a weekend lockdown will be in effect in multiple cities from Saturday, May 9, through Sunday, May 10. Wearing a mask in public places and crowded factories is mandatory for all individuals. Turkish authorities have imposed such measures over previous weekends, and similar weekend restrictions are expected to continue until after the Eid al-Fitr holiday in late May.
Turkish authorities announced that as of Monday, May 4, certain travel restrictions that had been imposed will be gradually relaxed throughout May, June, and July. Inter-city travel bans in seven provinces has been lifted since May 4; however, restrictions for Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and 24 other provinces remain in place. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that from the weekend of May 9-10, individuals over 65 or under 20 years-old will be allowed to go out once a week for four hours. From Monday, May 11, barber shops, shopping centers, and small shops will be allowed to reopen as long as they implement appropriate safety measures.
Meanwhile, all schools, universities, restaurants, bars, cafes, and cinemas remain closed nationwide. Supermarket opening hours are limited with a maximum of one customer for every 10 square meters (108 sq ft) of shop space. Buses will not be allowed to exceed 50 percent capacity and officials have also suspended public events and activities.
All international flights remain suspended until further notice. Additionally, passengers on public transportation will be required to sit separately from each other.
As of Thursday, May 7, authorities have confirmed 131,744 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 3584 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
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