Tourists walk as municipality workers wearing a face mask and protective suits disinfect the area surrounding the historical Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as Blue Mosque, amid the coronavirus outbreak, Istanbul, March 21, 2020.
Tourists walk as municipality workers wearing a face mask and protective suits disinfect the area surrounding the historical Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as Blue Mosque, amid the coronavirus outbreak, Istanbul, March 21, 2020.

Turkish officials are threatening to seize factories where face masks are produced if the companies running them do not agree to sell their products to the government.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told Turkish state-run media Monday the companies must stop hoarding their stock and sign contracts with the health ministry or they will be seized. He was quoted as saying the government would pay a fair price for the face masks.

Soylu said the government Sunday carried out simultaneous raids on depots of some local producers that were stockpiling the protective masks.

The actions come as Turkey’s death toll from the virus increased by nine to 30 on Sunday, with 1,256 confirmed cases after a surge in the last two weeks. Soylu says Turkey currently has quarantined about 10,750 people.

The country has closed about 165,000 businesses, called for citizens to practice social distancing and issued a full curfew for people over 65 to fight the spread of the virus.

 

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