Experts expect further rise in virus cases in coming weeks
Experts are expecting the daily number of COVID-19 cases to further rise in the coming weeks, probably hitting somewhere between 50,000 to 60,000 infections before starting to decline.
Since the start of April, Turkey has been logging more than 40,000 daily cases, prompting the government to reintroduce full weekend lockdowns in very-high-risk provinces.
Nationwide weekend lockdowns will also be in effect during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan which starts on April 13.
“The number of virus cases has been hovering above 40,000 lately. But real infections are much higher. Studies show that you have to multiply the cases detected with tests by five or even 20 to have the actual number,” said Professor Ziya Kurugöl at Ege University in the western province of İzmir, adding that the daily 40,000 cases are only the tip of the iceberg.
If the spread of the virus maintains its current pace, Turkey may see at least 60,000 daily infections by Ramadan, he warned.
Government officials also reckoned that the daily increase in cases is 5 percent presently and that infections are spreading fast due to the variants of COVID-19.
But officials suggested that infections will start to decline after hitting 50,000 in the next two to three weeks.
They warned that if the situation does not improve, full weekend lockdowns could be imposed in all 81 provinces of the country.
Officials pointed that during Ramadan mobility will slow thanks to curbs which will help reduce cases.
Ali Erbaş, the head of the Religious Affairs Presidency (Diyanet), said on March 6 that tarawih prayers will be performed at homes not in mosques during Ramadan.
“Following our consultation, we have come to the conclusion that it is more appropriate to perform the tarawih prayer at our homes,” Erbaş said.
Depending on the course the outbreak takes, the decision could be reconsidered, he added.
Meanwhile, they stressed that the coronavirus’ symptoms have changed in the past days.
COVID-19 patients are now showing cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing.
People are going to hospitals’ otorhinolaryngology clinics, suspecting cold. But tests reveal that some of those actually have the coronavirus, officials said.
On a related note, no flu cases were recorded from September to December 2020 thanks to anti-COVID-19 measures, such as face masks, hygiene and social distancing, found a study carried out by a group of scientists at Gazi University in Ankara.