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Turkish government divided over lockdown proposals

Turkish policymakers are split on whether a lockdown approach is the best way to protect Turkey from coronavirus, with some more fearful of the economic fallout than the potential deaths.

Turkish public health officials are pressing for a national lockdown while decision-makers at the helm of the economy fear the measure's possible impact on the country’s already ailing economy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tends to favor the latter, at least for now, well-informed sources told Al-Monitor.

Turkey's steep upward curve in new COVID-19 infections is leading many to ask whether Turkey will be the next Italy, where the death toll is more than 7,500 as of March 27. Many experts urge the government to order a full or regional lockdown as projections based on current statistics depict a grim prospect for the public health, economy and security. The death toll in Turkey can reach 250 people in 10 days and 99,000 over the course of the pandemic, if the current mortality rate remains the same, at 2.5%. The same projection suggests more than 4 million people in Turkey could be hospitalized.

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