By Mahmut Hamsici
(BBC) – The streets are crowded, the shopping centers busy and the traffic heavy.
Some flock to the main bus terminal to get out of Istanbul, while others are trying to stockpile alcohol amid news of a “booze ban”.
This is the mood as Turkey prepares later on Thursday to enter its first full lockdown of the pandemic, to curb a surge in infections and deaths.
WhatsApp groups are now dominated by messages about how life will be in the coming days.
This time last year, Turkey was seen as a success story for its early combative action and was even praised by the WHO.
One year on, it is among the countries worst affected by Covid, with the highest infection rate in Europe.
How Turkey’s infection rate soared
Ankara is still proud of its relatively low total number of deaths, at around 39,000, and authorities say the pandemic is still under control, thanks to the country’s strong healthcare system. But the spike in the number of cases is worrying.