Rate of rise in virus cases under control, says health minister

Rate of rise in virus cases under control, says health minister

Rate of rise in virus cases under control, says health minister

The rate of the rise in virus cases has been taken under control thanks to the measures taken and stricter inspections conducted over the past week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

Overlooking the outbreak, ignoring hygiene, face mask and social distancing rules has made “us encounter an undesirable situation,” the minister told reporters in the Black Sea province of Samsun on Sept. 25.

Koca also noted that the length of the period for screening COVID-19 contacts on average declined to 13 hours.

The Interior Ministry issued a new notice bringing judicial measures for those providing false or missing information on their COVID-19 contacts.

According to the notice issued on Sept. 24, if COVID-19 patients provide health authorities with false or missing information on with whom they had physical contact, they might receive up to two years of a prison sentence or a judicial fine.

A series of other measures have been announced as well earlier this week as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked over the past weeks.

The authorities said an article in the penal code would be evoked and actively used against those who violate quarantine rules. Article 195 of the penal code stipulates that any person who fails to comply with quarantine measures shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of two months to one year.

Turkey is confining quarantine violators to dormitories.

One of such dormitories is in Istanbul’s Sancaktepe, which hosts 220 evaders in 224 rooms. Some 85 police are guarding the İyimaya Dormitory 24/7.

“We are monitoring their health conditions. Those who do not show any symptoms are released after a 14-day confinement period. If they have the symptoms, we refer them to a hospital,” Associate Professor Nurettin Yiğit told daily Hürriyet.

Yiğit, the chief physician at Prof. Dr. Feriha Öz Hospital, is leading a team of doctors in charge of monitoring the quarantine evaders at the dormitory.

The staff does not have direct contact with the residents of the dormitory. The evaders can place an order for food or other needs. They pay for the expenses out of their pockets, but the dormitory administration meets the needs of those who cannot afford them.

The dormitory also welcomes foreign tourists who are stranded in Turkey.

The officials are taking all precautions to prevent the residents from escaping from the facility.

An Iranian pilot, who had been transferred to a hospital from the dormitory, ran away from the hospital. He has been at large since then.