Turkey will enforce a full lockdown from Thursday until May 17 to stem the spread of coronavirus, the country's president announced on Monday.
Speaking to reporters following a three-hour Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said all workplaces will suspend their activities during the restrictions, except those excluded by the Interior Ministry.
"We must rapidly reduce our number of cases to less than 5,000 ... otherwise we will face the consequences in every field from tourism to trade and education," he said.
All intercity travel will be subject to permission, whereas public transport will operate at 50% capacity, he added.
Erdogan said face-to-face education at all institutions including kindergartens and nurseries would remain suspended, and all exams would be postponed.
Over 37,000 new cases
Turkey's Health Ministry confirmed 37,312 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,716 symptomatic patients, in the last 24 hours.
The new infections pushed the overall caseload to over 4.6 million, including 38,711 related deaths, with 353 fatalities over the past day.
As many as 48,027 more patients won the battle against the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to more than 4.1 million.
Over 46.15 million coronavirus tests have been conducted thus far, with 268,893 done since Sunday. The number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition is 3,563.
On Jan. 14, Turkey began a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign, starting with healthcare workers along with top officials to encourage public confidence in the vaccines.
It has so far administered over 21.52 million jabs. More than 13.33 million people have received their first doses, while 8.18 million have been fully vaccinated.