Black Sea city Rize readies for flock of tea pluckers
Some 20,000 people, most of them from Istanbul, are expected to arrive in the Black Sea province of Rize to harvest tea leaves in fields, prompting health officials in the city to take strict measures to curb a possible spread of the coronavirus.
Rize is one of Turkey’s major hubs for tea production.
Within a space of three to five days a large number of people, estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000, will be arriving in the city starting May 20.
“We are concerned about the spread of the virus as this amount of people will travel to Rize,” said the city’s Health Department in a written statement.
Those who have come to the city will be isolated in houses for a week, and they will not be allowed to go out, the officials from the health department added.
Vefa Support Group will help them meet their basic needs, including food.
As part of the precautions to be taken by the city officials, one person in each arriving family will be tested for COVID-19.
If the result of this individual is negative, the family will be allowed for tea plucking, however, only the member of the family with a negative test result will be allowed to engage in activities, including selling the tea collected and shopping.
If the test turns out positive, then the entire family will be placed under quarantine. Tea in their fields will be collected by teams the authorities designate.
The authorities in the city plan to run around 5,000 tests in three days on those who arrive in Rize.
The government initially restricted travel from other cities to Rize ahead of the tea harvest season as part of the wider measures to curb the outbreak but later eased the curbs.