Roundup: Turkey urges citizens to abide by gov't instructions as COVID-19 cases rise

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ANKARA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Turkish government on Wednesday urged its citizens to obey the instructions given by the authorities, as the number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing in the country.

As many as 561 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on late Wednesday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country climbed to 2,433, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, among whom 59 have died.

Turkey will not "need to" impose a full curfew if every citizen abides by recent instructions, the country's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Wednesday.

Speaking in a televised interview, Soylu said the country would not need more radical measures if everybody declares their own "emergency rule."

"If all of our citizens declare their own emergency rule, a more superior precaution may not be needed. But if the virus spreads rapidly, taking the situation to another point, further measures might be needed," the minister said.

Turkish Minister of Education Ziya Selcuk on Wednesday announced that the distance learning for students will continue till the end of April.

On the same day, Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul has announced that all judicial proceedings would be suspended until April 30.

Turkish Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Zehra Zumrut Selcuk on Wednesday tweeted that the ministry will provide minimum wage support of nearly 7 billion liras (1.09 billion U.S. dollars).

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the importance of the next 2-3 weeks for the struggle against the COVID-19 epidemic.

"We are prepared for all kinds of scenarios. With good isolation, we will surely slow the spread of the disease within 2-3 weeks, with the least possible damage. Otherwise, it is inevitable that we will face heavier measures," Erdogan said.

Turkey has been extending its measures against the novel coronavirus each and every day. The Turkish government has suspended international flights and limited working hours for public servants.

The Turkish government did not impose a general curfew, but strictly warns citizens against leaving their houses to stem the spread of the epidemic.

Last week, schools in Turkey are closed and the education minister announced to start distance learning as part of measures taken to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Turkish parliament on Tuesday passed a bill overseeing amendments of laws for economic regulations.

The bill envisages granting financial help for employees with minimum wage, postponing electricity and natural gas payments in some areas.

Last week, the Turkish government unveiled a relief package worth 100 billion Turkish liras to limit the economic fallout from coronavirus. The package includes debt payment delays and tax cuts across various sectors.

Turkey also removed tariffs on ethyl alcohol imports, and suspended the use of ethanol in gasoline to boost disinfectant production.

Turkey reported the first coronavirus case on March 11. Enditem

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