Turkey observes 2nd weekend lockdown to curb COVID-19 spread


ISTANBUL, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Turkish people were locked down at home on Saturday for the second weekend as part of the partial curfew imposed to curb the steep increase in the COVID-19 cases.

In the largest Turkish city of Istanbul with a population of 16.5 million, markets and groceries were filled with customers who were doing some final shopping before the lockdown started at 8 p.m..

"As far as I can see, everyone pays extreme attention to the social distancing rule both in markets and on streets, and nobody takes off their mask," Deniz Iscan, a young Istanbul resident, told Xinhua in the Besiktas district on the European side of the city.

The curfew will end at 10 a.m. on Sunday before starting again at 8 p.m. and running until 5 a.m. on Monday.

Iscan noted that during the day, the district's main square was emptier than ever as restaurants and cafes were closed from Nov. 20 in line with the latest restrictions.

But videos aired by some media outlets showed crowd massing in several locations of the city, especially along the seaside, and ignoring the coronavirus-related rules.

In mid-November, the government reimposed partial lockdowns on weekends, closed restaurants and cafes, and introduced new working hours for the businesses, suspending all activities of local gaming halls, clubs, tea gardens, as well as football fields across the country.

Despite the measures, however, the number of coronavirus cases has been following an upward trend in the nation, prompting additional restrictions.

The Interior Ministry announced on Friday that the meetings and activities of non-governmental organizations, associations, professional organizations, unions, and cooperatives are suspended for three more months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said the country is obliged to take new measures to curb the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.

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