Restrictions may be eased in phases after Ramadan
At a recent central executive committee meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), President Recep Tayyip shared plans as to how the normalization process will play out in the period ahead, which foresees the gradual easing of measures that have been introduced to curb the spread of the virus.
Erdoğan stressed that people are largely abiding by the lockdown rules and said that if people keep sticking with those measures, curbs could be relaxed.
The blueprint envisages the easing of measures on a province-specific and sector-specific basis.
“The restrictions may be relaxed first in the agriculture, textile and industry sectors to be followed by tourism,” Erdoğan told party officials.
It was also discussed at the meeting that a three-day curfew could be imposed between May 1 and May 3 and that curbs should be strictly implemented during Ramadan and some sort of normalcy may return to the country after that.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on April 22 that “the latest data show we have taken the outbreak under control.”
He noted that the death rate from the virus was 5.3 percent in the U.S., 10.5 percent in Spain, 13.2 percent in Italy and 14.2 percent in Belgium, while in Turkey the death rate was only 2.3 percent.
“These numbers suggest that the death goes higher when the later the detection of the patient the higher the death rate,” he added.
According to Hürriyet newspaper, speaking at the AKP committee meeting, Koca informed that cases have peaked in Istanbul, followed by the northwestern province of Kocaeli and İzmir, the country’s third largest city.
“The situation in Ankara is much better. We are taking precautions. People need to stay at home” Koca told the attendees.
The government will implement a four-phase roadmap down the road until a vaccine against the COVID-19 is developed, Milliyet newspaper has separately reported.
The normalization process may begin after Ramadan and include four stages: Namely the preparation period – called phase zero – between May 4 and May 20, the first phase from May 27 to Aug. 31.
The third phase covers the period between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31. And the final stage will kick off on Jan. 1, 2021, if the vaccine does not get developed during the phase 2 and phase 3.
As to how what happens in those stages, a blueprint inked by the Interior Ministry provides some clues: Restaurants and cafes could be allowed to open on limited business hours in the first phase with social distancing rules firmly enforced. This strategy will be implemented if no case is reported within 14 days.
Business hour restrictions will be lifted in the second phase but social distancing if no COVID-19 is recorded in 30 days.