WATCH: Parliament members in Turkey broke out into a brawl during tense discussions over Syria.
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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the 48-hour curfew, stirring up a wave of panic-buying on Friday evening.
While Turkey took early steps to combat the virus by closing its border with Iran and halting flights from China and Italy, the nation’s approach has been otherwise more relaxed compared with many of its neighbors.
Prior to the temporary lockdown, the government banned anyone 65 or older from leaving home, later extending the ban to people under 20, ensuring that the main workforce was able to continue working and supporting the economy.
Turkey has focused mainly on limiting access and mobility nationwide as opposed to national lockdowns. After instituting the temporary measure, which is due to expire on Monday, many believe that a total lockdown is only a matter of time.
Can Selcuki, head of the Istanbul Economics Research think tank, said the government strategy of gradually limiting mobility aims “to stop the economy from coming to a full stop for as long as possible.”
“But if the curve doesn’t flatten and the numbers keep rising, then (a total lockdown) is definitely in the books,” he said.
“Our most important sensibility is the continuation of the supply of basic needs and ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of production to support exports,” Erdogan said last week. “Turkey is a country which in all conditions and circumstances must maintain production and ensure that the wheels (of production) carry on turning.”
A surge of infections in the country has forced Erdogan to reconsider his government’s response to the pandemic. Confirmed cases surpassed 52,000 this week, with more than 1,100 deaths.
On Satruday, Turkey confirmed 5,108 new cases, a staggering jump for the nation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.