Turkish city installs vending machines offering commuters free masks
The first of the vending machines, called "Maskematik", was installed at the Konak metro station in the centre of the city, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Friday.
Commuters will be able to obtain a package containing four masks and a small bottle of disinfectant after paying for their metro tickets and presenting them at the machine.
More vending machines will be installed at ten of Izmir's metro stations next week, according to Daily Sabah, and the number of masks provided will soon increase to five, while the bottle of disinfectant will be removed from the pack.
Izmir is Turkey's third largest city, with nearly three million inhabitants, and its metro system came into operation in 2000.
Izmir's mayor, Tunc Soyer, was present at the Maskematic machine's opening ceremony.
"The health of İzmir comes first above everything else," he said, expressing pride that a locally-based company had manufactured the vending machine.
Earlier this month, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkey was producing one million masks a week. There have been 78,546 cases of coronavirus in the country so far and 1,769 deaths.
Wearing masks in public is now mandatory in Turkey, but lockdowns are only partial and selective. They are imposed on those under 20 and over 65 throughout the week and on the general population at weekends.
Many countries have suffered from a shortage of personal protective equipment as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll. Turkey has provided aid to other countries, sending a planeload of emergency equipment to the UK last week.