Turkish doctors concerned with pandemic normalisation as cases increase by 11,500

Turkey’s top medical association is concerned about the country’s pandemic normalisation, which was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday,U.S. government-funded Voice of America said.

The day after the announcement, restaurants across the country reopened and children returned to school after a months-long interruption brought on by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey also lifted weekend lockdowns, and allowed restaurant dining and wedding ceremonies in limited numbers and depending on the condition of provinces, which are being continually monitored for risk levels. 

But it may be too soon to resume normalcy, according to the Turkish Medical Association, which cites a string of reasons as to why the move has arrived prematurely.

Turkey’s “vaccination rate and speed is very slow,’’Sözcü newspaper cited the association as saying. “The number of mutant virus cases are on the rise.  We don’t see the conditions for a return to ‘normal.’’’ 

Turkey launched a vaccine campaign in mid-January and a total of 9.43 million vaccines have been administered in the country of  83 million.

More than 7.29 million people have received a first shot and 2.1 million have received a second dose of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.

The country on Wednesday registered11,520 new coronavirus cases as 65 died because of the deadly virus in the past 24 hours. With the latest figures, the overall death toll is 28,771, according to health ministry data.

The country’s top health official Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday warned of high infection rates, while highlighting that the easing of the restrictions did not mean citizens should ease personal measures.

"Our high case numbers continue to pose a threat to regaining the regular flow of our lives. But we have control and we can normalise by adhering to the measures,’’ Cumhuriyet newspaper cited Fahrettin Koca as saying following a meeting with the country’s Coronavirus Science Board.

Koca urged citizens to continue maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures to stem the spread of the virus.

"It should not be forgotten that every uncontrolled step taken at a time like this will take us two steps backwards,’’ Koca said.