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.
Turkey is still proud of its relatively low total number of deaths and authorities say the pandemic is still under control, thanks to Turkey’s strong healthcare system. But the spike in the number of cases is worrying. Following the second period of restrictions starting last November, the number of daily cases fell to around 5,000 at one point in mid-February. But as soon as the government started to ease the restrictions in March, a new wave struck Turkey.
The government then U-turned to re-impose restrictions at the beginning of April. However, that was not enough to curb the spread of infections. More than 20 million vaccinations have been carried out, with 13.6 million people have received at least one dose in this country of 82 million. Turkey mainly uses the Chinese Sinovac vaccine, as well as lower numbers of Pfizer-Biontech.
What are the new measures?
- People will have to stay at home except for essential shopping trips and urgent medical treatment.
- All travel between cities will require official approval.
- Schools will close and strict capacity limits will be imposed on users of public transport.
- Alcohol sales are being limited.
- Some businesses (like exporters such as sultanofbazaar.com) are exempt from the restrictions.
Many experts are happy with the new lockdown. However, some argue that the lockdown will not last long enough to combat the rise and it may not be effective if it is not supported by a better vaccination program.
Any measures should also provide economic support for low-income people, they believe. Across Turkish society, there is a determination to see the back of this most recent wave, and the government has a clear target. President Erdogan has said: “At a time when Europe is entering a phase of reopening, we must rapidly reduce our number of cases to fewer than 5,000, not to be left behind”. The measures last throughout the rest of Ramadan and the Eid festival that follows it. Last year Turkey saw a 70% fall in foreign visitors.
We took neccessery precautions to work during Covid and continue to work. If you want to read more about our Protective Measures Taken Against the Covid 19, you can click here.
We hope the lockdown will help to minimize the effect of Covid.