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)
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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.


Dubai government employees to start returning to work on Sunday

Dubai's Sheikh Zayed Road deserted during the coronavirus curfew imposed by authorities. (AFP)
Updated 27 May 2020

Dubai government employees to start returning to work on Sunday

  • Emirate is ‘heading in the right direction’ as it gradually reopens following success in handling pandemic

DUBAI: Half of Dubai’s government employees can return to their offices on Sunday, and the rest will be able to go back on June 14, the emirate’s government announced Wednesday.

The return to work will, however, be made with “intensified precautionary measures,” to protect workers, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said. 

“Our investments in the future paid off sooner than expected,” he also said on Twitter. “It is reassuring to know we’re heading in the right direction.”

Many businesses across retail, entertainment, sports and fitness industries have already been allowed to reopen. On Monday, Dubai announced it would be easing restrictions on movement, allowing people to move freely between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. from Wednesday. 

Sheikh Hamdan also hailed the Dubai government’s handling of the crisis, saying no “vital services were affected despite the precautionary measures and movement restrictions imposed.”

The UAE reported 31,086 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday; with more than half of those infected having recovered. The country’s death toll currently stands at 253.