Severe cases set course for possible new curbs
Turkey will keep a close eye on the course the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition will take in the weeks ahead to decide whether to introduce even harsher anti-virus measures.
If the number of patients in critical condition hit 5,000, such restrictions will be considered, according to officials, even though they expect the daily COVID-19 cases to decline significantly over the next two weeks thanks to the newly announced curbs.
The government this week announced a partial lockdown during the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to curb the spread of the deadly virus after the daily cases recently climbed to record highs, hovering at around and above 60,000.
As part of those measures, millions of people will spend this weekend under lockdown across the nation.
The authorities will closely follow the effect of the Ramadan curbs to see if they are yielding the desired results.
Under the new restrictions, the daily infections are expected to decline as much as 50 percent two weeks after the restrictions came into force and drop below 30,000 infections in 30 days.
Some officials argue that Turkey is in the last week of the third wave of the outbreak and the daily infections should hit plateau this weekend before starting to decline next week.
The outbreak will become more manageable if the number of daily infections drop fast to around 20,000, according to officials.
The main focus, however, will fall on severe cases in hospitals and if they climb to around 5,000 as it was the case in November and December 2020, new restrictions could be introduced.
Experts also noted that recently most of the COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units are people aged between 40 and 50, who had not yet received their coronavirus vaccines.
Some of those who received the first of the jab have contracted the virus, and people’s complacent behaviors that they develop after they got their first shot play a role in that, officials said. The officials, however, added that they show rather mild symptoms.
To date, Turkey has administered more than 19.8 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine with over 12 million having received the first dose. Some 7.8 million have received both doses.
On a related note, as part of the anti-virus measures, shopping centers and stores in Istanbul will be closed earlier.
“Following talks with [Istanbul] Governor Ali Yerlikaya, it has been decided that shopping centers in the city will close their doors at 5 p.m. while stores and shops in neighborhoods will close at 5: 30 p.m.,” said Şekib Avdagiç, the head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO).
He noted that the request for new business hours came from the Istanbul Governor’s Office.