May 4, 2020 / 5:11 PM / a month ago

Erdogan says Turkey to start easing coronavirus restrictions as of Monday

ANKARA, May 4 (Reuters) - Turkey will start easing coronavirus containment measures as of Monday, President Tayyip Erdogan said, lifting intercity travel restriction in seven provinces and easing a curfew imposed for senior and youth citizens at the weekend after weeks.

Turkey has around 130,000 confirmed cases, the highest total outside Western Europe, the United States and Russia. Ankara has rolled out measures to contain the outbreak, but Erdogan said on Monday Turkey would start easing them in May, June and July as the spreading pace begun slowing over the past two weeks.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said senior and youth citizens will be allowed outside for 4 hours for one day a week starting this weekend and that travel restrictions would be lifted for seven cities, excluding Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

He said shopping malls, barber shops and some stores will be allowed to open on May 11 as long as they abide by normalisation rules, adding that universities would return to their academic calendar as of June 15. But, Erdogan warned that the government would impose much harsher measures if the normalisation plan is not followed.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Jonathan Spicer

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