Children let out to play as Turkey mulls tests for tourists

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Children wearing face masks for protection against the coronavirus, play on swings in Kugulu public garden, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Parks filled with the sound of children as Turkey allowed those aged 14 and under to leave homes for the first time in 40 days. The country's youngest population were allowed to venture out for four hours between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on Wednesday as Turkey eased some restrictions in place to fight to coronavirus outbreak.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ANKARA – Turkey's parks filled with the sound of children Wednesday as the government allowed people ages 14 and under to leave home for the first time in 40 days.

As the Turkish government continues to loosen some of its coronavirus restrictions, the country's youngest residents may now venture out for four hours a day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. People in the 15- 20 age group will be able to leave homes for a few hours a day starting Friday.

In the capital of Ankara, young children wearing masks took turns on the slides and swings at Kugulu Park. An adjacent street teemed with pedestrians, and police urged the public to abide by social distancing practices.

“The weather is beautiful. This was a great opportunity because we were so bored at home,” said Zeyda Ozdemir, who brought her 8-year-old daughter, Zeynep, to the park.

She added, however, that she felt “a little uneasy” because the park was more crowded than she had hoped it would be.

In the city's Birlik Mahallesi neighborhood, two children were seen riding scooters up and down a street while a voice from a loudspeaker on the top of the minaret of a nearby mosque called on the public not to be “fooled by the arrival of spring and good weather.”

“The danger of infection is not over yet,” the announcement said.

The Turkish government set out a “normalization plan” as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases dropped, but warned of tougher measures if infections rise again.