Turkey could impose stay-at-home order if coronavirus outbreak worsens

The government announced a stay at home measure for people older than 65 over the weekend, but not for the general public as some other countries have done. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 26 March 2020

Turkey could impose stay-at-home order if coronavirus outbreak worsens

  • The highly contagious respiratory disease has killed 59 in Turkey after cases surged in two weeks to 2,433

ANKARA: Turkey could order the public to stay at home if coronavirus infections continue to spread, the government said on Thursday as it clamped down further on medical equipment leaving the country.
The government announced such a measure for people older than 65 over the weekend, but not for the general public as some other countries have done.
Istanbul’s mayor urged national authorities to do so on Thursday, saying nearly a million people were still using public transportation in the country’s largest city.
The highly contagious respiratory disease has killed 59 in Turkey after cases surged in two weeks to 2,433.
“Complete social isolation is always on our agenda,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on AHaber TV. Asked whether a complete curfew would be announced, he said: “If we cannot prevent the epidemic with these measures, we can of course take the highest measure.”
To contain the virus, Ankara has closed schools, cafes and bars, banned mass prayers, and suspended sports matches and flights. President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey, which has a population of about 83 million, would overcome the coronavirus outbreak in two to three weeks.
However, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu called on the government to impose a general stay-at-home order, at least in his city if it was not possible nationwide.
“We are in the most critical phase of the outbreak,” he said on Twitter. “If the necessary steps aren’t taken today, it is evident there will be disappointment in the future.”
Separately on Thursday, the government decreed that companies now need permission from authorities to export medical tools used for respiratory support, given rising domestic demand.
The rule covers the export ventilators and related gear, oxygen concentrators, intubation tubes and intensive care monitors, and other medical equipment. Ankara previously said it would stop exporting locally made face masks.
Turkey’s Higher Education Council said there would be no face-to-face classes in the spring term, distance learning would continue and university exams would be postponed to July 25-26.
Separately the central government said all municipality meetings in April, May and June, should be postponed except under extraordinary circumstances.


Kuwait calls for understanding on spending cuts amid coronavirus pandemic

Updated 22 min 51 sec ago

Kuwait calls for understanding on spending cuts amid coronavirus pandemic

  • Kuwait's stimulus package includes a reduction in its discount rate and an offer of up to $811,000 in soft loans for owners of SMEs

DUBAI: Kuwait’s prime minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah called for understanding on ‘critical circumstances’ that required the country to cut spending to address the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on economy, state news agency KUNA reported.
Al-Sabah, who earlier chaired an online cabinet briefing on a government stimulus package, added that authorities should follow all the rules and present “serious cooperation in order to overcome this phase with the least damage possible.”
The stimulus package includes a reduction in its discount rate and an offer of up to $811,000 in soft loans for owners of small to medium-sized enterprises and payable in four years.
A delay in helping companies and SMEs would negatively impact the country’s economy to the extent that they may go bankrupt, Kuwait’s central bank chief Dr. Mohammad Al-Hashel said.
The Kuwaiti cabinet has also approved the Ministry of Finance’s proposals to not raise budgets of independent public authorities, institutions and funds for five years, and also lowering their budgets by 20 percent for the years 2020 and 2021.