Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a strict four-day nationwide lockdown during the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations. The move comes in an effort to prevent a possible spike in coronavirus cases.

The decision was announced by Turkey’s leader on Monday. The lockdown will come into effect on May 23, when Muslims worldwide will start celebrating the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“I hope that after the holiday we’ll be in a situation when such restrictions are not needed,” Erdogan stated.

The Eid al-Fitr is a major holiday in Turkey, where Sunni Muslims are a majority, and people often gather in large groups with family and friends to celebrate it, as well as travel to other towns. The festivities usually go on for three days straight.

Despite the holiday, mosques will remain closed across the nation. Religious buildings will begin allowing mass midday and afternoon prayers starting from May 29, Erdogan has said.

So far, Ankara has avoided imposing a nationwide anti-coronavirus lockdown, sticking to a regional approach instead. The strict lockdown measures have affected only about 30 Turkish cities.

Schools will remain closed due to the pandemic until the end of the ongoing academic year, Erdogan has said, while remote education will continue until June 19. Conventional education, with the pupils actually visiting schools, will resume only in September, he added.

As of Monday, Turkey has just over 150,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including more than 4,100 deaths. The country experienced a peak in infections in April, and currently the rate of spread has significantly slowed down, the latest statistics by the Johns Hopkins University indicate.

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