By Sena Guler
ANKARA (AA) – A 15-day period of gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Turkey has started as of early Monday, as infections began falling thanks to a strict lockdown.
The 17-day full lockdown, which covered the remainder of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as well as three days of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, ended as of 5 a.m. local time (0200GMT).
As part of the measures, cafes, and restaurants only offered delivery services, while chain supermarkets remained closed on Sundays.
All intercity travels were subjected to permission, whereas public transport operated at 50% capacity.
An Interior Ministry statement early Sunday said the gradual normalization will start at 5 a.m. local time on Monday and conclude at the same time on June 1.
During the new period, weekdays will see night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., while weekends will be under full lockdown, the ministry said.
Intercity travel will be allowed outside the curfew days and hours.
There will be no special restrictions on people aged 65 and over who have taken two doses of COVID-19 vaccines or those under 18.
Cafes and restaurants will provide takeaway and delivery services only on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekends, delivery service only from 7 a.m. to midnight.
Shopping malls will be able to operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and will be closed on weekends.
Wedding halls, sports centers, and game halls will remain closed.
Turkey has so far registered 44,760 deaths from COVID-19, while over 4.94 million people have recovered from the disease. There have been over 5 million confirmed cases in the country.
Turkey has administered over 25.8 million coronavirus jabs since launching a mass vaccination campaign in mid-January, according to official figures.
More than 14.96 million people have received their first doses, and over 10.83 million people have been fully vaccinated.