Turkey in COVID-19 vicious circle, columnist says

Turkey is in a vicious cycle with the COVID-19 coronavirus as it eases restrictions only to see infections rising again, columnist Sedat Ergin wrote in Hürriyet newspaper on Wednesday. 

Ergin said Turkey has entered a troubled phase in the fight against the pandemic. On the one hand, the country entered a period of ‘normalisation’ in June and relaxed many of the measures designed to halt the spread of the disease after the number of infections was seemingly brought under control. 

On the other hand, Turkey has lost some ground in the fight against the disease since June, with almost 1,400 new infections announced on Monday, Ergin said. 

Mehmet Ceyhan, an expert in paediatric infectious diseases at Hacettepe University and member of Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Committee, told Ergin that more should be done at this moment in time to check the spread of the virus and that normalisation was producing unpredictable effects.  “Normalisation really had a negative impact above what was expected,” he said.

“If we continue with the deaths and number of cases at this level, it will not be possible to reduce the infections in a short time,” he said. “We must definitely take extra measures as soon as possible.”

But rather than returning to a strict lockdown or quarantine, Ceyhan is urging targeted measures such as further adjusting working hours, further reducing the density in public transportation, introducing number limits in places people are gathering, expanding tests to people working in highly-exposed professions, and allocating dedicated hours in shops and banks for people over 65-years-old to use. 

Ceyhan told Ergin it would be hard to get out of the vicious cycle in which Turkey finds itself without new steps and measures. 

“We have to do this. Otherwise, these figures will not fall by themselves,” he said.