Coronavirus: Turkey calls Eid lockdown as it passes 150,000 cases

Four-day lockdown will be put in place from May 23 as cases continue to soar

In this Friday, May 15, 2020 photo, Betul Sahbas, 47, right, who had been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, looks from her flats's window in Istanbul as a contact tracing team with Turkey's Health Ministry's coronavirus contact tracing team, arrives to swab her and take a sample. Thousands of tracers are going house to house nationwide to test and inform patients on isolation. Sahbaz, started showing symptoms after her flatmate tested positive. "I was scared and panicked, sure we hear about it, but it's different when you experience it" she explained. People who test positive are required by law to self-quarantine and are tracked by a phone application. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that a four-day lockdown would be imposed nationwide to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during the Eid Al Fitr religious holiday as the country surpassed 150,000 confirmed cases.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Mr Erdogan said the lockdown would begin on May 23. Schools would not re-open this academic year and education is to continue in person in September with the new academic year.

He also said mosques would begin allowing mass prayers for mid-day and afternoon prayers as of May 29. The house arrest period for prisoners who were released as part of coronavirus measures had been extended for two months.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Turkey rose to 150,593 on Monday, with 1,158 people diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed.

With the ninth highest number of cases globally, Turkey has started taking steps to ease measures against the spread of the coronavirus. The number of daily cases has declined from a peak in April.

A total of 4,171 people have died from the respiratory disease, data showed, while 111,577 have recovered. Turkey has conducted more than 1.6 million tests since the outbreak began.