Two million workers made unemployed as Turkey battles pandemic

World Grigory Matyunin 03-Apr-2020
Turkey drought
ID 138816984 © Dragosphotos |

At least two million workers have been made unemployed in Turkey as the government imposes ever tighter restrictions upon freedom of movement to curtail the spread of the covid-19 pandemic.

A large number of businesses, including retail stores and restaurants, have been ordered to suspend their work although a full lockdown is yet to be imposed. An opposition politician told Reuters that 400,000 businesses had shut resulting in mass lay-offs.

Schools and universities have been closed and people aged over 65 have been told to remain at home. Nonetheless, many businesses continue their work and 1.2 million people were still using public transport every day last week in Istanbul.

Turkish exports fell in March by nearly 20 percent. The tourism industry is expected to suffer an unprecedented blow and Turkish Airlines are unlikely to return to normal until mid summer. The economy is still recovering from the currency crisis of 2018.

The country’s death toll from coronavirus currently stands at 356. There are 18,135 confirmed cases, including 601 healthcare professionals. 60 percent of these cases are concentrated in Istanbul, a city accounting for 25 percent of Turkey’s economic output. The rate of testing has nearly doubled within a week, now standing at over 18,000 a day.