Erdogan revokes weekend lockdown

Turkish President cancels weekend lockdown after public backlash, but warns of rise in number of daily coronavirus cases.

ANKARA - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he decided to cancel a weekend lockdown announced late on Thursday after a public backlash, but he warned of a rise in the number of daily coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Turkey's interior ministry announced the stay-at-home order in 15 cities to prevent the spread of the virus, continuing the country's policy of weekend lockdowns.

In a series of tweets, Erdogan said Friday the government had to impose the weekend lockdown after daily new COVID-19 cases rose from around 700 to nearly 1,000.

"However, the reactions we received from our people pushed us to re-evaluate the decision" and the lockdown is now revoked, he said.

He urged people to wear masks, abide by social distances practices and maintain high levels of hygiene.

This week, domestic air travel resumed, restaurants began welcoming sit-in customers and beaches, swimming pools, parks, gyms and museums reopened amid a slowdown in the virus’ spread.