Authorities plan to launch gradual reopening after lockdown
Turkey will keep a close eye on the course the number of daily cases will take in the days ahead to decide whether to ease anti-virus measures as the country sees a decline in cases amid measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
A gradual reopening will begin if the number of daily COVID-19 cases drops to 10,000 after analyzing the results of the 17-day full lockdown, according to officials.
In line with the normalization plans, the reopening of small businesses and the beginning of face-to-face education are expected, while weddings and condolence ceremonies will continue to be suspended for a while.
For the transition to the normalization period, the number of cases and the rate of spread of the virus on May 14 and May 15 will be decisive for the decisions to be taken after Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan and that is set to take place between May 13 and May 15 this year.
A desired decrease in the number of cases has been experienced, according to the full lockdown evaluations made by the Health Ministry and its relevant units, but this gain may be lost depending on the decisions to be taken after May 17.
For this reason, the authorities stress the importance of gradual reopening, strict control and intensive vaccination.
According to the evaluations, there was a 13 percent drop in deaths and a 3 percent decrease in the number of critically ill patients while the positivity rate of the tests has reached the lowest level of the last three months and decreased below 8 percent.
In Istanbul, home to nearly one-fifth of Turkey’s population, there was a weekly decrease of 34 percent in the number of cases, 24 percent in the number of inpatients, and 21 percent in the number of patients treated in the intensive care unit.
This data will be analyzed again on May 14 and 15, and the results and its impact will be evaluated after two weeks since the full lockdown took effect.
In evaluations to be made on the mentioned days, the rate of positivity, the rate of spread of the virus, and hospital capacities will be taken into account, and the framework of the restrictions will be redefined with a gradual reopening according to these results.
“We will see the effects of the restrictions more clearly in the figures to be released on May 14 and May 15. Because when a measure is taken, the effect of this occurs after 12-14 days. But as of May 17, not everything will open up at once,” said an official.
Earlier, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced the latest weekly infection rates for COVID-19 across various regions of the country.
Sharing the data for May 1-7 on Twitter, Koca touted the country’s current full lockdown, saying, “Our determination will continue to reduce the number of cases.”
In Turkey’s largest cities, the number of cases per 100,000 people was over 359 in Istanbul, 247 in the capital Ankara and 161 in western İzmir province.