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Erdogan says life in Turkey could return to normal by late May

The Turkish president also said the country was facing its biggest economic crisis since World War II.
The medic checks the temperature of a driver on a highway near Istanbul after the government decided to shut down the borders of  31 cities for all vehicles excluding transit passage for essential supplies, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, at the outskirts of Istanbul, Turkey April 4, 2020. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RC2RXF9YIECQ

Turkey could return to business as usual after the end of Ramadan in late May, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as the number of coronavirus cases in the country neared 100,000. 

“We aim to ensure the highest level of compliance with the measures throughout the month of Ramadan, and hopefully, the transition of our country to normal life after the feast,” he said during a video meeting of party officials Tuesday.

Erdogan said the difference between Turkey and “other countries is that we have both a strong health infrastructure and take the necessary precautions over time.” He said Turkey was facing its biggest economic crisis since World War II. 

Turkish health officials have reported 98,674 confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, with a death toll of 2,376. The number puts Turkey ahead of China, which previously had the most confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of Europe and the United States. 

After reporting its first confirmed case of the virus March 10, Turkey began imposing restrictions on movement and public gatherings in late March. 

The government recently announced a four-day lockdown on 31 of Turkey’s most populated provinces beginning Thursday. Such weekend lockdowns are expected to continue during the month of Ramadan, according to Erdogan. 

Essential businesses in those provinces can continue operating, and residents are permitted to leave their homes to buy food and other necessities. 

According to the Ahval news outlet, other Ramadan restrictions include limiting the hours that bakeries can sell their special holiday bread, and conducting temperature checks at cemeteries for those entering to pay their respects. 

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