The permission given to tourists to roam freely in Istanbul during a partial lockdown amid soaring coronavirus cases is rubbing local residents the wrong way, the Insider said on Monday.
The weekends-only lockdown across Turkey was reintroduced earlier this month, as the country grapples with another COVID-19 wave resulting in a record-breaking number of cases and deaths.
According to the new measures, locals in the city of some 15 million are forced to stay inside between 9 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday, but the regulation does not apply to international tourists visiting the megacity.
“People are not happy,” an Istanbul travel guide told Insider. “They think that there should be a lockdown for everyone.”
“People are not happy that the tourists are coming here because they’re bringing lots more cases,” he added, noting however, that Turkey is hurting economically, and desperately needs the income.
Istanbul is home to 60 percent of Turkey’s cases, which have hit 1.8 million this week.
Another local guide of 12 years told the Insider that”the government actually doesn’t care about COVID-19. They just want more money.”
The government is becoming more reckless as the country struggles financially, he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday announced some rental support for businesses while vowing to continue discounts for value added taxes as the country’s already ailing economy suffers from the pandemic. The lira has hit record lows this year, lira losing 30 percent of its value since January.
“There has to be an absolute lockdown without any exceptions,” according to an Istanbul travel guide, who said that many visitors from Russian and Eastern European countries refuse to wear masks and comply with local coronavirus precautions, posing a huge problem in the megacity.