Experts rule out reintroducing lockdowns despite rising virus cases

Experts rule out reintroducing lockdowns despite rising virus cases

Meltem Özgenç-ISTANBUL
Experts rule out reintroducing lockdowns despite rising virus cases

Despite a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Türkiye, some experts do not think reintroducing lockdowns to bring the pandemic under control would be necessary.

There appears to be a new wave in COVID-19, and the number of cases is probably hovering above 50,000, said Professor Levent Akın from Hacettepe University in Ankara.

People still remained indoors in June because the weather was relatively colder, and they did not use face masks, and these factors triggered the spike in the number of infections, according to Akın.

He, however, does not think special measures, such as imposing lockdowns, are needed. “We should not be too worried about the situation, but on the other hand, we must exercise caution,” he said.

“The situation will not probably deteriorate like the one we experienced in March-April 20202,” Akın added.

Professor Tevfik Özlü at Karadeniz Technical University agrees that the latest surge may be considered the beginning of a new wave in the pandemic, however, like Akın, he is optimistic that the situation will not get out of control.

“Presently, the rate of hospitalizations and fatalities are not at the level we had back in 2020 and 2021. The number of deaths [from the virus] is not rising despite the increase in the number of cases,” Özlü said.

People should not read too much into the numbers, but what matters is fatalities and how severe cases are, he said, adding that the situation currently is not too worrying but need to be closely watched.

Özlü also does not think a mandate for wearing face masks could be instated. “I do not believe it is necessary, however, I would advise people to have them on when indoors.”

In February last year, the daily number of infections climbed over 110,000, the highest since the start of the pandemic, but declined gradually in the following months to around 1,000 in early June. The Health Ministry has stopped providing daily data.

The number of weekly COVID-19 cases increased from around 27,000 between June 20 and 26 to over 57,000 between June 27 and July 3, according to the latest data from the ministry. The deaths due to the virus rose from 17 to 25 in the same period.