Full lockdown against coronavirus would be very costly: Presidential spokesperson
A full lockdown against the spread of the novel coronavirus would be costly for Turkey, both for the economy and the mental health of citizens, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said.
“The cost of this on the economy would be much heavier. The cost on social life and human psychology would be very, very different,” Kalın told private broadcaster NTV late April 16 when asked about the burden of a long-term quarantine decision across the country.
“Sometimes people are well-intentioned but unfortunately they can make such recommendations without scientific data. These aren’t decisions that would be taken arbitrarily. These are issues that really need to be addressed along with state intelligence. That’s why there is a Science Board. Therefore, these are the decisions made as a result of the suggestions of the joint studies of all our related units,” he said.
He emphasized that it is not easy to run the entire system harmoniously. “When solving a problem, there is also the risk of another problem growing. So, this process is managed by finding an optimal method where no one will be a victim. So, this process is managed by finding an optimal method where no one will be a victim,” Kalın noted.
Turkey’s state officials are taking the strictest measures against the novel coronavirus, and in the state departments, they have doctors all the time and pay extra attention to social distancing, Kalın said adding that they conduct most of the meetings through video calls.
Investments made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, especially in healthcare, city hospitals, medical equipment, healthcare professionals and all other medical and healthcare issues have prepared Turkey for this epidemic for years, he said, adding that investments, especially in health infrastructure, for 15-16 years have prepared the country for the outbreak.
Turkey is in an advantageous position as it is among the countries that have taken measures and responded to the crisis early, Kalın said. “When you look at the whole process, we can say that we have managed the process well so far because our citizens adopted these measures. This success is the success of all of us, not just of the person or institution.”
The current global system’s fragilities are much more visible now with the COVID-19 outbreak, he stated.
“Many economists estimate that COVID-19 will cost the world $3-$4 trillion. So, 2020 will be a year of complete contraction. We have to take this into consideration, but risking human lives due to this in any way is out of the question,” he stated.
“There are lessons to be learned. Problems of capitalism and profit- and consumption-oriented systems have shown themselves through this crisis. Chaos and uncertainty are looming, and this should give us the opportunity to think about what really matters in our lives and what our basic needs are.”
He added that the legitimacy of international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), U.N., G20, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the European Union will be questioned. “If these organizations fail to create solutions for a crisis such as this, of course, there will be a question of political legitimacy.”
Turkey sees protecting its citizens of vital importance, and that is why Erdoğan decided to provide everyone with masks for free, he said, adding the country has enough supplies and infrastructure to continue doing this.
He said Erdoğan takes into consideration all decisions of Turkey’s Science Board and all steps are taken in the country accordingly.