Turkey shortens quarantine period to 7 days
“It has been decided that given the current situation, the quarantine period should be revised. The quarantine period for positive cases is now set as seven days and quarantine will end if positive cases test negative on the fifth day,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced in a statement on Jan. 5 following a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board.
Under the new regulations, those who contacted an infected person will not quarantine if they received a booster shot or contracted the virus in the last three months.
Koca reiterated that the number of infections is rising as expected due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but hospitalizations are not increasing. “In the face of this new development, taking personal precautions have become even more important,” the statement added, urging people to avoid crowded places and use protective equipment and observe the social distancing rule.
The statement also renewed calls for the public to get the booster shots as soon as possible and reiterated that face-to-face education will continue. “Schools will not close until all establishments are closed.”
Meanwhile, the Turkish Football Federation said that only fans who have received their booster shots will be allowed to enter stadiums.
Turkey registered a record number of 66,467 new COVID-19 cases on Jan. 5. The country saw daily infections at around 60,000 in April last year with the previous peak at 63,082 on April 16, 2021.
In the wake of the sharp increase in the virus cases, people are forming long lines to get their vaccines against the coronavirus and PCR tests at hospitals and health facilities.
“Dec. 26  was a turning point. Before that around 500 and 600 people would apply for PCR tests but afterwards, this figure rose to 1,200,” said Professor Ümmühan İşoğlu, the chief physician at Istanbul University Medical School Hospital.
Over the same period the test positivity rate climbed to 23 percent from around eight percent to 10 percent, İşoğlu added, noting that the virus appears to have hit particularly those aged under 45.
Echoing Koca, she, however, said that the cases have not yet overwhelmed hospitals.
The health minister last week revelated that Istanbul accounted for more than 52 percent of all Omicron-linked cases in Turkey.
To date, more than 134 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, with the number of people having received the booster shots surpassing 20 million. Nearly 52 million people have been double jabbed and over 57 million people have been given at least one dose of the vaccine since the country rolled out its jab drive in January last year.