Turkey to remain shutdown till end of May

Kadikoy dock in Istanbul remains nearly empty due to precautionary measures taken against the coronavirus

Schools in Turkey will remain shut until the end of May, education minister Ziya Selcuk has said, in keeping with growing indications the country will try to reopen after the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

Schools were initially closed on 12 March, after Turkey confirmed its first case of Covid-19. Officials have since instigated wide-reaching measures to slow the spread of the virus, but resisted calls to shut down the economy completely, fearing that a second recession in as many years will further damage the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party’s already waning popularity.

Turkey is one of the worst affected countries in the world with nearly 115,000 cases and a death toll of nearly 3,000, although doctors’ unions say infections are underreported. There has been a fall in newly reported deaths over the last eight days.

Both international and domestic Turkish Airlines flights will stay grounded until 28 May, the national carrier said in a statement on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan promised forthcoming details on a timeframe for reviving both the public and private sectors.