Government weighs measures as virus cases expected to spike
Turkey’s government and local authorities have been weighing options to counter an expected spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the fall, including working hours arrangements in Istanbul and tighter controls on virus measures.
Officials from the Interior Ministry and Health Ministry have been holding talks to discuss coordinated efforts to curb the spread of the virus, particularly in the larger cities, according to daily Hürriyet.
Officials have assessed that virus cases will start to decline in Ankara by the end of September, while cases will likely spike in Istanbul and the Marmara region at the beginning of October.
Authorities do not consider imposing bans but rather tightening controls on the anti-virus measures.
In Istanbul, the country’s most populous city, the governor’s office has been working on plans to introduce rotating working hours both in the private and public sectors. A study by the Istanbul governor office’s Public Transport Science Board showed that private-sector employees accounted for 60 percent of all passengers in Istanbul.
Professor Mustafa Ilıcalı from the board said officials from the governor’s office and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality held a meeting on Sept. 10 to discuss coordinated efforts.
The officials from the governor’s office will also hold talks with private sector representatives, according to Ilıcalı.
Ilıcalı suggested that working hours for employees in Istanbul could be arranged in four shifts, such as between 7 a.m to 2 p.m, from 8 a.m to 3 p.m, between 9 a.m to 4 p.m and 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
“Such an arrangement in working hours will help to reduce risks,” he said.