Travel restrictions may be needed to slow virus’ spread, say experts
Turkey may need to introduce intercity travel restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, experts have said.
The government last week imposed a raft of curbs, including weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends.
“The impact of the weekend lockdowns will be seen in the next seven to 10 days. The 25 percent decline in the number of virus cases in Istanbul is the result of restrictions, but the virus is spearing in other provinces,” Professor Mustafa Naci İlhan from the Health Ministry’s Social Sciences Board told daily Hürriyet, suggesting that travel bans may help.
İlhan noted that the daily number of recorded virus cases appear to remain stuck at 30,000 and added that: “this should be reversed. Only then we could say ‘we have made it’.”
This could be only possible if the public fully cooperates and measures, such as travel restrictions, may have to be introduced, he said.
“A ban on intercity travel will help control the spread of the virus between the provinces. But if the public develops an awareness, such a restriction could be unnecessary,” İlhan stressed.
He recalled the intercity travel was banned last summer, but the disease became widespread across the Anatolian provinces as soon as the restriction was lifted.
Professor Mehmet Ceyhan, the head of the Infectious Diseases Society, agrees.
“Travel should be banned except for emergencies,” Ceyhan told the daily.
He pointed out that the number of virus cases in Istanbul mildly declined and said that: “This is not enough. People are traveling from Istanbul to all the corners of the country.”
Intercity mobility should be closely scrutinized, and restrictions should be imposed. “Otherwise, cases may decline in Istanbul but will rise elsewhere,” Ceyhan said.
“The pace of increase in the number of patients in critical condition tends to decline,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted on Nov. 6.
“We hope to see the impact of the measures and restrictions,” Koca said, referring to the curfews announced last week.
Urging the public to comply with the measures, Koca warned: “Stay away from crowds, even without restrictions.”