Amid growing concern over the spread of coronavirus, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu welcomed U.S. actor John Malkovich and his four friends with cologne. Malkovich had also taken his precaution against the virus, by wearing latex gloves.
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate said on March 13 that instead of attending weekly collective mosque prayers on Fridays, Muslims in the high risk group can pray at home amid coronavirus concerns. Underscoring that Friday prayers were a must for every obliged person, the statement said that various justifications could excuse a person from the congregation, including danger to life, property or health.
Turkey has slammed The New York Times and CNN International for using pictures taken in Istanbul in their reports on new U.S. travel restrictions over coronavirus. "It is disturbing to see that following the U.S. announcement to suspend travel to the United States from Schengen Countries, The New York Times and CNN used photos from Istanbul in their coverage in total contradiction with principles of professional and objective journalism," Ambassador Kılıç said.
Turkey's Health Ministry has appointed a National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) to conduct health screenings on the thousands of migrants at the Greek border. UMKE employees have begun to disinfect the encampment and check the temperatures of migrants with electronic and thermal devices.
Students flock to bus terminals despite calls to avoid crowds after Turkey shuts universities over coronavirus
Students have flocked to bus terminals after Turkey shut schools and universities over coronavirus despite calls to avoid public spaces and crowds. Pictures from bus terminals showed students lined up in front of ticket windows, prompting criticism on social media. Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on March 13 said that the government's decision to suspend schools was adopted to decrease crowded environments.
A member of the Turkish Health Ministry's Corona Science committee said that the panic over the coronavirus pandemic was 'unfounded'. More than 80 percent of patients have mild symptoms, Özlü noted, adding that the majority of the remaining 20 percent also fully recover after hospitalization.
An Afghan migrant was taken to hospital after getting stabbed over coronavirus on March 13. "Did you bring coronavirus here?" said the assailant who then stabbed the Afghan national.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has resulted in a sharp drop in the number of tourists traveling to Turkey, affecting Grand Bazaar shopkeepers. Yet for some, the most pressing concern is the lack of precaution being taken to curb the pandemic.
A second patient has been diagnosed with coronavirus in Turkey, the country's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 13. Turkey’s first case was announced earlier this week, a man who had recently returned from Europe. Another statement was released by Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, who said that the second patient is also “under control.”
Teyit, an independent fact-checking organization, has debunked a news report claiming that a man in Turkey's Yozgat province has been hospitalized after consuming liquid soap in an attempt to "protect himself against coronavirus." Health officials have told Teyit that no such patient had ever visited the Yozgat City Hospital.
Turkey has expanded the criteria for who can be tested for the novel coronavirus after the first confirmed case in the country early on March 11. As of now, not only those who recently traveled to countries with “high risk,” but anyone who has been abroad within the last 14 days will be tested, as long as they show symptoms of infection, said a member of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Scientific Committee.
Turkey on March 12 announced a series of new measures against the coronavirus threat. Primary and secondary schools will be closed for one week and universities for three weeks from March 16, whereas sports events will be played without spectators until the end of April, Presidential Spokesperson Kalın announced. President Erdoğan has also postponed his foreign visits, Kalın said.
Widely-known Turkish surgeon Mehmet Öz released a "coronavirus survival protocol" on March 8 in which he suggested lifestyle changes and supplemental immune support measures in addition to more common hygiene practices. In what came as a surprise to many, Öz suggested meditation as a means of protection from contracting coronavirus as it may improve the immune system.
Turkish teachers' union Eğitim-Sen has said in a statement that the Education Ministry's recent move to start disinfecting school buildings was not a "sufficient" step and urged the government to suspend education across the country due to the coronavirus threat.
Turkey’s Health Minister urges people to ‘resist’ for two months since summer will weaken coronavirus
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has urged people to resist for two months, since summer will weaken coronavirus (COVID-19). "This disease is more of a winter infection. If we adopt measures and prevent it from spreading, it's highly likely that life will return to normal in two months," he added.