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Turkey announces 4-day curfew over New Year’s to fight virus

December 14, 2020 GMT
A person wearing a mask to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walks along a deserted street during a two-day weekend curfew, in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. Turkey imposed a two-day curfew from Friday evening to Monday morning as the total number of COVID-19 infections in Turkey tripled to almost 1,750,000 on Thursday after the government retrospectively corrected its count. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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A person wearing a mask to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walks along a deserted street during a two-day weekend curfew, in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. Turkey imposed a two-day curfew from Friday evening to Monday morning as the total number of COVID-19 infections in Turkey tripled to almost 1,750,000 on Thursday after the government retrospectively corrected its count. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
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A person wearing a mask to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walks along a deserted street during a two-day weekend curfew, in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. Turkey imposed a two-day curfew from Friday evening to Monday morning as the total number of COVID-19 infections in Turkey tripled to almost 1,750,000 on Thursday after the government retrospectively corrected its count. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has announced a four-day lockdown starting New Year’s Eve to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the curfew would begin the evening of Dec. 31 and go until the morning of Jan. 4

The government this month re-introduced weekend lockdowns as well as nighttime curfews amid a spike in infections and deaths. It has avoided a full lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic to keep the country’s beleagured economy running.

Erdogan also announced some rental support for businesses and promised to continue discounts for value added taxes.

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Monday’s health ministry statistics showed a record of 229 confirmed new daily deaths, bringing the total death toll to 16,646. The 7-day average of confirmed infections hovers above 30,000, making Turkey one of the worst-hit nations in the world.