Turkey's medical staff sacked with statutory decrees (KHK) have said that they want to help the country fight the novel coronavirus, even if that means putting their own lives at risk. Leaders of opposition parties have also demanded that the government reinstate the sacked medical staff back to their jobs.
Istanbul's famous Grand Bazaar ("Kapalı Çarşı" in Turkish), one of the world’s oldest covered markets, has been temporarily closed amid coronavirus precautions.
Hospitals and clinics in Turkey’s capital Ankara have been telling their employees to pack for 10-day shifts, which they think will be the country’s response to a surge in the number of people infected with the coronavirus. Meanwhile, healthcare workers unions urge the Health Ministry to step in to ensure the wellbeing of workers.
The first batch of rapid coronavirus test kits were brought to Turkey from China early on March 23. A cargo plane of Turkish Cargo was sent to Shanghai to carry the first batch of the tests. The plane landed in Istanbul's Atatürk Airport at around 4 a.m.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on March 23 said that Turkey imported a medicine from China which is believed to be effective against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He said that Turkish health personnel have already started to use it to treat coronavirus patients in intensive care units. Koca is believed to be referring to anti-viral drug Favipiravir.
A lawmaker and human rights activist from the eastern province of Van said that immigration continues on the Iran border despite its official closure since Feb. 23, adding that the traffic might widen the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey. “They need to start placing incoming migrants under quarantine and inform the residents of border villages,” Turkey’s Human Rights Association Van Chair Murat Melet said.
Selva Demiralp writes: Things are different in Turkey. We could hardly reach the inflation target even at the most favorable times and gave in to populist policies. Thus, mismanaged debt monetization can lead us all the way to hyperinflation. The way to prevent inflation is to drain the money effectively just as demand starts to pick up.
Two patients under coronavirus quarantine escaped from the hospitals they were kept in and were nabbed by police officers in the capital Ankara and Istanbul. In Ankara, 36-year-old patient, identified only by the initials as Y.Y., escaped from the Ankara City Hospital on March 22. A similar incident took place in Istanbul, where a woman escaped from quarantine by jumping out of the window in the Taksim First Aid Hospital on March 23.
CNN Türk barred seven field reporters and nine videographers from its building, relocating them to prefabricated sheds in the parking lot. “Is this your understanding of a precaution?” Turkey’s Journalists’ Union said in a tweet March 22.
Turkey is allowing civil servants to work from home and in shifts as part of measures to address the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement published March 22 in the Official Gazette. The decision for state workers, who were previously being considered for administrative leave, will be valid until a new one is made, it added.
Turkish Airlines will suspend all international flights, except five routes, as of March 27 amid the coronavirus outbreak that has already infected more than 1200 people in Turkey. The company will fly only to New York City, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Addis Ababa and Moscow, Board Chairman İlker Aycı said.
Turkish elementary, middle and high school students began remote classes March 23, in the second week of school closures amid the coronavirus outbreak. Classes will run for four hours, starting at 9 a.m., on the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation’s (TRT) airwaves, as well as on the Education Informatics Network (EBA).
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has warned mask producers against stockpiling amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country. We carried out simultaneous raids on all the mask producers in Turkey at 8 a.m. yesterday. We told them to enter into agreement with our health ministry. They have between 10 to 12 hours, we can seize their factories tomorrow. We won't hesitate to do that, we have the authority" Soylu said.
Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rose to 30 as the number of cases surged to 1236, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 22. The minister said that a total of 20,345 tests were carried out "until today," adding that all of those who died were of the elderly. "Let's stay at our homes. Let's not take any risks," Koca tweeted.
Turkish police have warned citizens to stay indoors in a bid to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19). Footage shared from the official Twitter account of Turkish police and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu showed police vehicles making announcements in crowded areas.