Curfew violations continue despite surge in virus cases
Despite warnings from authorities for the public to follow virus-related measures, and a recent surge in the daily COVID-19 cases in Turkey, people are relentlessly continuing to violate curfews and other rules.
Nearly 350,000 people violated weeknight curfews and weekend lockdowns over the past two months alone, according to official data. Each week, on average some 30,000 such violations are recorded.
Pictures taken in Istanbul, the country’s largest city and once was declared as the epicenter of the outbreak in the earlier stages of the pandemic, show scores of people venturing outside during the weekend lockdown and flocking to parks after this weekend’s curfew ended, enjoying the warm weather in the parks, with most of them ignoring social distancing and face mask rules.
When the coronavirus cases peaked, the government introduced weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends in December 2020 to bring the spread of the deadly infection under control. Combined with other measures, those restrictions worked. The number of daily cases dropped below 6,000 toward the end of January.
However, the number of daily inflections has been hovering at around 8,000 since the start of February. Experts are linking the recent surge in the cases to several factors.
They argue that the virus variants could be behind the rise in the number of cases. Turkey has found the South African, Brazilian, and U.K. variants in more than 20 provinces already.
Meanwhile, at least 16 people have contracted the U.K. variant of the coronavirus in North Cyprus, local health authorities said on Feb. 8.
According to the experts, the public might have grown more complacent after the country started vaccinations on Jan. 14, thus ignoring the rules. To date, over 2.7 million people, mostly the health care and the elderly, have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Health workers are set to get their second doses on Feb. 11.
Moreover, the increased mobility during schools’ winter break could have led to a surge in the cases, they reckon.
In the face of the rise in the daily cases and the presence of the virus variants in the country and a potential threat of another wave in the outbreak, experts and health authorities repeatedly call on the public to stick to all anti-virus measures, particularly curfews and lockdowns.
However, people continue to venture outside during the full lockdowns, using shopping at markets and bakeries or dog walking as excuses to breach the restrictions.