COVID-19 Coronavirus Istanbul Turkey: Latest information and advice

Last Updated on February 12, 2021

Here you can find COVID-19 coronavirus Turkey guidance and resources for travelling safely to Istanbul, including latest info, updates and travel advice.

Coronavirus Turkey Resources

We recommend you to check the below official resources with travel alerts and warnings before you plan your travel to Istanbul and Turkey.

Coronavirus Istanbul Turkey: Latest Updates

Important Notice: Istanbul has a big rise in COVID-19 exposure. Please keep social distance, wear mask, and avoid crowds.

  • Istanbul is currently subject to high risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • As of December 4, 2020, a weekend curfews nationwide is placed; starting from 21:00 pm on Friday to 05:00 am Monday.
  • As of December 1, 2020, a general curfew nationwide is placed; every weeknight from 21:00 pm to 05:00 am Monday through Friday.
  • People aged 65 and older, plus aged 20 and younger are not permitted to use public transportation.
  • Shopping malls, markets, restaurants and hairdressers will be open from 10:00 am to 20:00 pm throughout the week. Restaurants will only provide takeaway services.
  • As of November 17, 2020, movie theaters, coffee houses, tea gardens, internet or electronic game halls or similars are suspended.
  • All public schools and education activities will continue via distance education through December 31, 2020.
  • As of November 12, 2020, smoking in open areas is banned. This includes streets and other open public areas.
  • As of November 4, 2020, restaurants (except for the package service), hospitals, barber shops, hairdressers, weddings, wedding halls, swimming pools, Turkish bath, spa, sauna centers, internet cafes, theaters, cinemas, concert halls and all similar services at the workplaces will end at 22:00.
  • As of September 8, 2020, the wearing face mask outside is mandatory throughout Turkey. This includes public transport, streets, parks, gardens, workplaces, streets, picnic areas, markets, supermarkets, marketplaces, hair salons, shopping malls, etc.
  • You should avoid using public transport in rush hours and stroll at the very crowded places. Walking if possible or using a taxi would be better.
  • You must wear face mask even you are in your private vehicle with at least two person inside.
  • Standing passengers are not allowed in the public transportation vehicles.
  • The live music at the restaurants and cafes after midnight is forbidden.
  • As of October 15, 2020, several schools have opened together with distance learning and online courses.
  • Turkish citizens and residents above the age of 65 can go out daily between the hours 10:00-16:00. This does not apply to foreign tourists.
  • Travelers already in Istanbul can dial the 112 emergency service within Istanbul and Turkey to get further information and emergency medical treatment.
  • If you want to take info and access the Turkish Ministry of Health COVID-19 Telephone Hotline (Turkish/English/Arabic), you can dial 184 within Istanbul and Turkey.
  • Local authorities may put additional COVID-19 restrictions with little or no advance notice.

Can I visit Istanbul now?

Yes, borders are open and you can visit Istanbul and all other cities in Turkey. You should just make sure you keep yourself safe, responsible and follow the latest restrictions and COVID-secure guidelines.

However, many countries have travel restrictions in their own and you should check your own government’s guidelines and travel advice before you plan your travel to Istanbul and Turkey.

People arriving in Turkey from abroad no longer need to self-isolate.

Measures at the Istanbul Airports

When you arrive at Istanbul airports or any other airports in Turkey, you’ll go through thermal screening for temperature checks before the passport control.

You are also asked to complete a passenger locator form that is supplied by the airline.

If there is a suspect with COVID 19, you’ll be taken to an isolated place to stay under quarantine for further PCR testing.

If you have serious symptoms, you’ll be taken taken to an isolation room and stay there for 2 hours for getting the PCR test results.

If your PCR test result is positive, than you’ll be sent to a hospital, and than you’ll decide whether to be treated at the hospital or hotel.

If the isolation period will last longer than your planned trip, extra accommodation costs will be covered by the hotel.

If you won’t want to stay in Istanbul during the isolation period, and want to return to home country, you’ll be allowed on board with the discretion of the airline or captain.

You’re advised to buy health insurance packages before arriving at Istanbul, Turkey. And if you’ll have symptomatic after arriving at your hotel, than you’ll be taken for PCR test at the contracted health care facilities.

Medical treatment

If you are already in Istanbul or any other cities in Turkey and need an emergency medical assistance, use the 112 emergency service to get further information and ask for an ambulance.

You should know that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Istanbul and Turkey. So that you are advised to contact your travel health insurance company whether you are referred to a medical facility for treatment or not.

You should also check whether your travel health insurance covers treatment for COVID-19.

Using Public Transportation with HES Code

Due to latest Covid-19 precautions, you’ll need to activate a HES code when using using public transportation.

To activate the HES code, you should synchronize your HES code with your Istanbulkart. Otherwise you’ll not be able to use the public transportation.

Steps to activate your HES code with Istanbulkart

  • You should send SMS to 2023 and type HES (space) Nationality (space) Passport Serial Number (space) Year of birth (space) Surname
  • Upon getting your HES code, you should visit the Istanbulkart website on (English language available)
  • And than you should select “I am a foreigner, I want to continue by my passport
    number.’’ box. Also note that your card number is your Istanbulkart serial number.


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