Turkish teenagers get very brief respite from virus lockdown

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish teenagers were allowed to briefly leave their homes for the first time in 42 days on Friday, as their turn came for a few hours of respite — but just for one day — from coronavirus lockdowns.

Turks aged 65 and over, and under 20, have been subjected to a curfew for the past several weeks. This week, the government began allowing them to go outdoors for a few hours as part of a staggered program of reduced controls.

On Friday, youths aged 15-20 filled parks and main streets and were seen queuing outside malls as the curfew was lifted between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. Some played basketball or soccer or flew kites in parks, HaberTurk television reported.

Ceyhun Gultekin, 16, met up with two of his friends on the popular Tunali Hilmi Street in downtown Ankara.

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“We’re enjoying our freedom,” said the youngster, as he stood near a sign that read: “Stay at home Ankara.”

Senior citizens were permitted out for four hours on Sunday, again just for the day, and children aged 14 and below on Wednesday.

The government has announced a “normalization plan” as the number of new coronavirus cases dropped last week. It has, however, also warned of tougher measures if infections go up again.

Turkey has registered nearly 145,000 confirmed cases of the virus and some 4,000 deaths.

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