Turkey bars elderly from leaving homes as coronavirus death toll rises

Turkey bars elderly from leaving homes as coronavirus death toll rises
Turkish citizens over 65 and those with chronic illnesses will be quarantined at home.
2 min read
22 March, 2020
Turkish citizens have been advised to stay at home [Anadolu]
Turkey on Saturday barred citizens over 65 from leaving their homes in a bid to control the spread of the novel coronavirus after the country's death toll surged to 21.

"As of midnight today, the citizens aged 65 and over and also people who suffer from chronic illnesses are restricted to go out of their homes and to walk in open areas such as parks, gardens," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The curbs on movement mark the latest measures geared at preventing the virus' spread among Turkey's elderly population.

Local media reports suggest that many elderly citizens have ignored government advice to stay at home to avoid spreading the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Deaths from the disease occur overwhelmingly in people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions.

On Friday, local municipalities across the country ripped park benches from the ground to prevent older citizens from congregating together.

Mansur Yavas, mayor of the capital Ankara, revoked transport passes for the elderly earlier on Saturday, while Istanbul's Uskudar district municipality tweeted out a picture of an elderly man opening his front door to find a massive hole excavated in front of it, preventing him from leaving.

"We love you very much but please don't make us do this," the municipality joked.

Turkey's number of confirmed Covid-19 cases rose to 947 on Satuday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

The country's death toll from the highly contagious virus surged from nine on Friday to 21 after the deaths of 12 elderly patients, Koca added.

"Let's warn our elderly," the health minister urged. "The death risk increases with age."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday addressed the pandemic, encouraging citizens to stay at home in order to minimise the spread of the virus.

"We are running a relentless fight against the coronavirus," Erdogan said in a voice message sent to the phones of citizens over 50, adding that everyone should pray at home and avoid inviting over guests.

"On behalf of myself and my nation, I would like to express my gratitude to all my citizens who stand by us and act with a sense of responsibility in this struggle with the coronavirus. I hope we will come through these hard days together, God willing."

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