Turkey cancels weekend lockdown due to public backlash - despite rise in daily infections

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
The Turkish government has dropped its decision to impose another weekend curfew due to a public backlash - as the UK continues to look at the strategies of other European nations. (Getty Images)

Turkey has cancelled plans to impose a weekend-long coronavirus lockdown in 15 cities due to a public backlash over the proposed measures.

On Thursday, Turkey's interior ministry announced the stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the virus, continuing the country's policy of lockdowns on weekend days only,

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he decided to cancel the weekend lockdown - but he warned of a rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases.

In a series of tweets, Erdogan said Friday the government had to impose the weekend lockdown after daily new COVID-19 cases rose from around 700 to nearly 1,000.

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he decided to cancel the weekend lockdown - but he warned of a rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases. (Getty Images)

He said: "However, the reactions we received from our people pushed us to re-evaluate the decision.”

It comes as the UK assesses other nations who are lifting their lockdowns amid declining death rates - but where the infection rate is still high in countries such as Spain and Italy.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, warned on Wednesday that some countries have seen a spike in new cases as measures are eased.

He said: “It’s fantastic news numbers are coming down across Europe and have come down to low levels in Spain. It’s also the case, if you look in other countries, they are beginning to see outbreaks as measures are relaxed.”

On Friday, Public Health England (PHE) gave a regional breakdown of the COVID-19 transmission number, or R value.

The government’s latest official estimate of the R number for the UK as a whole remains between 0.7 and 0.9, the same as the previous week.

Their estimates, calculated in conjunction with Cambridge University's MRC Biostatistics Unit, showed it was "probable" the R value was below one in most regions of England.

However, latest estimate shows it is around 1 in the north-west and south-west of England – and might even be slightly higher.

On Monday, schools in England reopened for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils; car showrooms and outdoor shops were able to reopen; and outdoor gatherings of up to six people were allowed.

On Friday, the government announced that some parts of England had a reproduction rate (R value) of around one. (PA)

But parents and staff at St Paul’s Church of England Primary School in Bradford, West Yorkshire have been advised to self-isolate after two siblings tested positive for coronavirus.

The case comes amid an ongoing debate about whether it is too early to reopen schools to children.

Speaking to WIRED, Keith Neal, a professor of epidemiology of infectious diseases at the University of Nottingham, said the UK was “doing a lot less” than other European nations - and that the UK “could learn a lot” from their lockdown plans.

The headteacher at St Paul's Church of England Primary School said two pupils had been confirmed as having coronavirus. (Picture: Google Maps)

He said: “We’re doing a lot less – Germany has museums and zoos open. I think we can learn a lot from what’s been going on in Europe in the last month, and they haven’t seen a problem. So why would you expect there to be a problem in this country?”

Some schools in England have reopened but others have decided to remain closed. On Wednesday, it emerged more than two in five primary schools in England did not open their doors to more children at the start of the week.

But speaking of school re-openings, Neal continued: “We know that schools have reopened across Europe using social distancing and that schools have had three weeks to learn from Denmark, and ten weeks to get things ready, and some have reopened. What works in Denmark and German schools is probably going to work in British schools.”

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