Next two months crucial in coronavirus fight: Turkish health minister
Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has stressed that the upcoming two months are critical in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak and urged for measures.
“Resist for two months. The impact of the virus decreases in the summer,” the minister said on his Twitter account, citing the Science Committee and its decision over the coronavirus.
Turkey has so far confirmed one case of COVID-19.
“This disease is more of a winter infection. If we take precautions and prevent it spreading, life will return to normal after two months,” he said.
Turkish citizens should avoid international travel unless absolutely necessary, the health minister earlier said at a press conference on March 11 after Turkey confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
“Our citizens who were planning to go abroad should either cancel their travel plans or postpone them. The risk is serious,” Koca said following the Science Committee’s meeting in the capital Ankara.
The global outbreak has pushed Turkey to take the necessary precautions, Koca told the conference along with the Turkish trade and culture and tourism ministers. He went on to say that the country’s health facilities were fully prepared to deal with the outbreak.
“We have medicines in our stocks. We ordered some medications three weeks ago. This was our preparation period. There is no problem with the preparations,” he said.
Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan announced the postponement of domestic trade fairs from March 16 until the end of April.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy said suspending cultural activities and events until the end of April are on the agenda.
Ersoy recommended hotels in the country to plan the opening of the summer season this year from the end of April instead of the end of March.
All social activities in schools were canceled by the Education Ministry within the scope of the precautionary measures, but a decision on a complete school break is yet to be announced.
Regarding the possibility of mid-term breaks to be pushed forward for universities due to the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) chair Yekta Saraç on March 12 said: “Hundreds of thousands of students are studying in metropolitan cities. All of these will be distributed to their homelands. So, there may be a risk. That’s why we are hesitant about the holiday issue. This issue should turn into a state decision. We will comply with the state decision.”
Regarding the measures taken in the Turkish army against the coronavirus, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said: “We have limited our delegations from going abroad and their international contacts.”
“The Turkish Armed Forces also halted handshakes for a while. We will not be able to accept guests to any oath-taking ceremonies or graduation ceremonies in the upcoming period. We expect understanding from our valued cadets and their families,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) postponed a consultation meeting of the party.