Turkey announces four-day curfew over New Year’s to fight virus

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president announced a four-day lockdown starting New Year’s Eve to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the curfew would begin the evening of December 31 and go until the morning of January 4.

The government this month re-introduced weekend lockdowns as well as nighttime curfews amid a spike in infections and deaths. It avoided a full lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic to keep the country’s beleagured economy running.

Erdogan also announced some rental support for businesses and promised to continue discounts for value added taxes.

Monday’s Health Ministry statistics showed a record of 229 confirmed new daily deaths, bringing the total death toll to 16,646. The seven-day average of confirmed infections hovers above 30,000, making Turkey one of the worst-hit nations in the world.

A man walks along a deserted street during a two-day weekend curfew, in Ankara, Turkey. PHOTO: AP