Turkey to ease restrictions if coronavirus cases decrease
The government is planning to ease restrictions imposed on businesses in line with the COVID-19 pandemic should the number of coronavirus cases decrease to a certain limit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late Feb. 1.
“We are planning to start easing the coronavirus measures that have been implemented on businesses if the number of coronavirus cases goes down to a certain limit,” Erdoğan said in a press conference after attending a cabinet meeting where the coronavirus measures were discussed.
The government imposed weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends in December 2020 due to a surge in the number of daily coronavirus cases, restricting the operation of restaurants and cafes to takeaways and delivery services.
While business owners are expecting to reopen their business as soon as possible, it has not been made clear as to when businesses can start operating again.
With the rising daily number of cases, which was once 5,000 and nowadays around 6,000 to 7,000, experts are speculating that the new U.K. variant of COVID-19 may be the reason for it.
“The number has risen. It is either because of the mutation of the virus or people taking coronavirus measures too lightly. I think, the number of mutated virus cases is more than reported,” said Zafer Kurugöl, an academic from Ege University.
The new variant of coronavirus that emerged in the United Kingdom in December 2020 raised alarms worldwide, with experts saying that the new strain is stronger and fast-spreading than the current strain.
So far, the new strain of coronavirus has been detected in some 128 people from 17 provinces in Turkey.
Turkey’s Health Ministry has decided to send coronavirus mutation detection kits to hospitals in order to check the spread of the new variant of coronavirus across the country, according to daily Hürriyet.
A second test will be conducted on anyone who tests COVID-19 positive using the new kits in order to determine the new variant of the coronavirus.
“With these new kits, we will be able to track the new coronavirus variant,” Kurugöl said on Feb. 2.
Due to the new coronavirus kits, it will be easier to detect and track the U.K. variant of the virus at the end of the first half of February, Kurugöl added.
Turkey began a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Jan. 14, starting with health care workers along with top officials to encourage public to get vaccinated.
Until now, nearly 2.3 million have been inoculated, according to the official website of the Health Ministry.