Erdogan locks Turkey down to save holidays this summer – Will you be able to getaway?

Boris Johnson says travel red list is under 'constant review'

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Turkey’s President reigned in social activities and travel two weeks ago after it was feared the country would lose out on tourists this year due to the pandemic. The cabinet will continue to discuss the situation today and think about implementing a tighter lockdown for residents.

Since the start of the pandemic, Turkey has registered a total of 4.63 million coronavirus causes, with its death toll standing at 38,358 at the time of writing.

It is fourth globally in daily virus cases and deaths peaked last week at 362.

With international travel set to kickstart from May 17, it is feared that Turkey may be off the cards for Britons.

Total daily cases in Turkey peaked above 63,000 on April 15 before dropping to below 39,000 yesterday.

However officials have said that this is not enough to allow tourism to kickstart and a full shutdown of the country may be on the agenda.

One official told Reuters: “Cases…have been falling for a few days but this is not enough.

“A full shutdown will be on the cabinet’s agenda and this option should be implemented.”

The measures could see shopping malls closed and require special permits for intercity travel.

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Cafes and restaurants are already closed across Turkey.

Residents are also subject to a curfew and public transport has been limited to a 50 percent capacity, with no standing passengers allowed.

Facemasks are mandatory “at all times” when “outside the home”, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and those who do not abide by the rules may be issued with a fine.

The good news is, the only part of the curfew which applies to holidaymakers is the opening and closing of amenities like cafes and restaurants.

The FCDO have said that all other parts of the curfew do not apply to those visiting for tourism.

Last Friday, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the latest restrictions had shown a 20 percent fall in coronavirus causes in places like Istanbul and fewer hospital patents, but intensive care units were still strained.

He also added that safety measures would be tightened if the fall in cases did not happen.

Another official told Reuters: “Tourism is of critical importance for foreign exchange inflows.

“So as not to miss out totally on the tourism season, these measures must be implemented strictly.”

It is thought that 2.5million British holidaymakers visited Turkey in 2019, with tourism being its biggest income.

Under current lockdown rules, international travel for residents in the UK is illegal until May 17, when it will be lifted under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Once international travel does resume, countries will be divided into a traffic light system of red, amber and green.

Turkey is one country that has said it will welcome travellers back even if they have not yet been vaccinated.

Instead, international arrivals will be required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within a certain amount of time.

Turkey is aiming to provide testing for tourists at hotels and airports before they return to the UK.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? travel, said: “Turkey lifting its ban on direct flights from the UK is only half the story for those who want to travel to the country. People shouldn’t book their holiday until they know which colour the UK government will place Turkey in its traffic light system.

“If travellers book now, they have no way of knowing whether they will need to quarantine on their return or how much they may need to pay for tests – which could cost several hundreds of pounds if Turkey is placed on the amber list.”

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