İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkey on Friday announced several strong new measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, a pandemic which has killed thousands of people worldwide.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the government decided to shut down borders of 31 cities and imposed a partial curfew for citizens under the age of 20, effective from midnight Friday to contain the coronavirus outbreak. He also announced a 15-day ban on vehicles leaving or entering 31 provinces, including Istanbul – home to nearly one-fifth of Turkey’s population – as well as the urban centers of the capital Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, and Adana. The wearing of face-masks in crowded areas including stores is also now mandatory, said the president. The gathering of crowds in all open spaces, including streets, is not allowed, he added.

A curfew was already in place for those over the age of 65, who are deemed most vulnerable to the coronavirus. But because many youths were not adhering to stay-at-home orders, the government extended that curfew to those under the age of 20 as well.  "Our aim isn't to torture our citizens, but to secure their health and health of those they are in contact with," Erdogan said.  "I trust my people. This isn't an empty word. We see this trust in every step we take."

The new measures are an extension of restrictions announced last week, when Turkey cancelled all international flights and imposed a travel ban on major cities.

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