Each night at 9pm, Istanbul residents send up a cheer for frontline healthcare workers

Every evening, Istanbul residents lean over their balconies, hang out windows and cheer the healthcare workers who are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The nightly ritual to show appreciation for the people working hard to curb the spread of the virus is also a way to buoy spirits: their own and their neighbours that are self isolating.

The clamour starts at 9pm, and as well as raising voices, residents bang pots and pans. Even boats crossing the Bosphorus join in by sounding their horns. 

Strict measures for Turkey

More drastic measures were imposed over the weekend after photos began doing the rounds showing hundreds of people out and about, enjoying a sunny Istanbul day.

Despite a reported slowdown in the spread of the virus in the last few days, the government was swift to act. Gatherings, including prayers in mosques, are banned. Libraries, cafes and restaurants are shut and there is a curfew for the country's most vulnerable people. 

Coronavirus Turkey

The Turkish government has stopped flights from Europe, and imposed strict border controls. Flights to more than 70 countries have stopped as a precaution to prevent the spread of illness.

On Saturday, when the death toll reached 21, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan implored people to stay home. 

“Be of good cheer,” he said in a video message. “I hope we will get through this difficult process together, as long as we abide by the rules and directions.”

He added that there was a plentiful supply of food and resources and that people should not panic buy.

"There is no shortage of any product. We have plenty of medical and other supplies. Do not be misled by (images of empty) shelves in some Western countries,” Erdogan said.


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