Turkey sets out rules for new phase in normalization
The government decided to loosen the curbs after the daily coronavirus cases started to decline following a nationwide lockdown which remained in place from April 29 to May 17. The fast track vaccinations also encouraged officials to take further steps toward normalization.
Curfews will be fully scrapped, and intercity travel restrictions will lifted starting July 1, the Interior Ministry said in a communique released on June 27.
Cafes and restaurants will serve people with no limitation on the guest number in indoor and outdoor areas.
All workplaces and cinemas, which have suspended their activities as part of coronavirus measures, will reopen while restrictions and measures in accommodation facilities will end, with hygiene, mask, and social distancing rules still having to be followed.
Outdoor wedding ceremonies will be held without a guest limit and food and drink can be served, while some restrictions will still in place for indoor ceremonies.
Events such as concerts, festivals, and youth camps will be allowed provided that the previously set face mask, hygiene and social distancing rules are followed. Parks, gardens, picnic, and camp areas will be open to the public.
Mandatory quarantine for travelers from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and those who have been in these countries in the last 14 days will end.
The mandatory quarantine period for people arriving in Turkey from Afghanistan and Pakistan or who have been in these countries in the last 14 days will be reduced to 10 days.
[HH] High vaccination rate
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that 54 percent of adults over 18 in Turkey have been given at least a single dose of a COVID jab.
Nearly 47.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccines have been administered since the jab drive began in mid-January. Some 15 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while around 13 million people have been given their first doses.
The country’s three biggest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, see high vaccination rates but people in southeastern provinces are still showing hesitancy toward the coronavirus vaccine.
In Istanbul, 58 percent of the residences have received at least one dose of the jab while the corresponding rates are 70 percent in Ankara and much higher 80 percent in İzmir, the country’s third most populous city.
The vaccination rate in the southeastern provinces, however, remain low at around 20 percent.
Vaccine persuasion teams across the country are out in the field, visiting farmlands and industrial zones to encourage people to get their shots and administer the jabs.
“The vaccination rates have always been low in the eastern and southeastern regions. It is crucial to bring the vaccines to people living there and reach out to and engage with the community leaders there, such as muhtars, in the inoculation drive,” said Professor İsmail Balık, an expert in infectious diseases from Ankara University.