Turkish daytime talk show host returns with virus-safe hugging screen

The popular host of Turkish daytime talk show returned to the screens on Monday with a pandemic measures-compliant feature after a long break due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Müge Anlı, host of a programme which features family feuds and long-lost lovers on the ATV network, lowered a giant plastic sheet with cylindrical extensions onto the stage in her comeback episode.

Despite slowly starting to ease social distancing restrictions, Turkey still has more than 30,000 active COVID-19 cases, so Anlı found a novel way to allow her guests to safely hug each other.

“Let’s say we had guests who hadn’t seen each other in years - this is our solution,” Anlı said as the sheet descended.

Anlı invited a woman named Sevcan, who she said she loved like a daughter, to the stage to be the first ones to use the screen.

“We haven’t been able to hug each other for 50 days, let’s go!” she said.

The network is using several disposable screens, Anlı explained to her guests. “We spared no expense,” she said.

The studio audience was seen wearing face shields and cloth masks throughout the broadcast, while Anlı and her guests had their faces open but sat at safe distances.

Studio audience in Müge Anlı's show
Studio audience in Müge Anlı's show

The show, Tatlı Sert, showcases extreme and striking instances of domestic disputes, including cheating spouses, cases of sexual assault, kidnappings, and even murders. Müge Anlı is one of the most trusted celebrities in the country as television audiences admire her pursuit of justice. The show involves law enforcement and psychological experts, who weigh in on the cases. Anlı has solved several murders to date.

Turkey eased many of the coronavirus restrictions on June 1, with government officials saying that the pandemic is now under control and the country's COVID-19 cases remain at the “anticipated level.”

The coronavirus outbreak has claimed more than 4,500 lives in Turkey and infected more than 160,000. Contrary to warnings from experts, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Sunday said he did not expect a new wave of COVID-19 in the country.