Prof. Mehmet Doğanay from Turkish Health Ministry's Science Council has named Istanbul, the capital Ankara, the western province of İzmir, the southern province of Antalya and the eastern province of Van as the Turkish cities under the highest coronavirus risk. Doğanay also said that he expects the virus to wane when the weather gets warmer.
As the number of coronavirus cases continue to increase in Turkey, people are stuck between the fear of getting infected by the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19) and sustaining their livelihood. While authorities continue to urge people to refrain from going outside, those who are required to work are concerned about the risk to their own health and that of their families. For those who are working from home, the situation has other setbacks - mainly being forced to work more hours and facing psychological pressure.
Tezcan Karakuş Candan, head of the Ankara branch of Turkey's Chamber of Architects, has said that a company has been constructing a wedding hall on the land of the city's iconic Atatürk Forest Farm under the disguise of "landscape design." "Coronavirus opportunists are working. Everyone's concerned on their health, but they are still after land rent and looting," Candan said about the Pusay Tourism Logistic Co. Ltd.
Turkish citizens are able to access their coronavirus (COVID-19) test results online, the country's Health Ministry said on March 20. The results will be able to be seen from the "e-Nabız" website and mobile application.
A group of Turkish taxi drivers have protested the decrease in the number of passengers, as hundreds of thousands of people have been refraining from going outside to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). "The drivers are in a race to earn money. Accident risks are increasing. We are working for the owner of the licence plate," Yunus Başboğa, a taxi driver speaking on behalf of the group, said on March 20.
Istanbul Municipality has prepared informative videos on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Turkish, Kurdish, English, Persian and Arabic as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus. The videos are currently being screened on public transportation and displays.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has urged people to declare their own state of emergencies. "They ask me whether we will declare a state of emergency. There is no need to do that. You should take your own measures," Koca said, adding that people should refrain from going outside in the next two to three weeks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree on March 20 postponing all events related to science, culture and art, as it seeks to contain a surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. The decree published in the Official Gazette said all meetings and activities, indoors or outdoors, related to science, culture, art and other similar fields would be postponed until the end of April.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have started reworking on regulations that would lead to the release of thousands of prisoners in Turkey amid calls for taking measures in prisons over coronavirus. Prisons in Turkey are known to be at overcapacity, with reports of people sleeping on the floors being common. Rights groups have been drawing attention to the fact that coronavirus can easily be spread via prison guards or the arrival of people newly arrested.
Too many elderly Istanbulites still use public transportation, mayor warns amid coronavirus outbreak
On March 19, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoglu urged older residents to decrease their use of public transportation amid the coronavirus outbreak. “I would like to urge our older residents to please, please stay away from public places,” said Imamoğlu in a tweet.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on March 19 that uncertainty about the global supply chain generated by the pandemic represented an opportunity for Turkey. He also said that he had "no concerns" about Turkey's ability to meet its economic growth, budget and inflation targets for 2020 despite expectations of a potentially severe global recession due to the coronavirus.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that Turkey conducted over 10,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) tests so far and aims to carry out between 10,000 and 15,000 tests daily. "We think that the number of tests will increase significantly in the upcoming days," he told lawmakers in a speech in parliament on March 19, adding that a quick diagnosis kit will be put to use in the next one or two days.
Four major Turkish clothing companies announced they were closing their stores indefinitely as of March 19 in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The internationally-renowned Turkish denim manufacturer Mavi Jeans and the luxury boutique chain Beymen were among the four firms.
A Turkish researcher who has conducted research on the coronavirus for almost a decade was removed form his position by a state of emergency decree following the botched coup attempt of 2016, making it impossible for him to join the fight against the deadly disease. “Will the Justice Ministry continue to keep so many qualified scientists at bay during this time of crisis when the Health Ministry needs more personnel than ever?” asked an opposition deputy in a parliamentary question on March 18.
Turkish Medical Association releases explanatory videos for healthy individuals, coronavirus patients, caretakers
The Turkish Medical Association released two explanatory videos on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. One speaks to civilians, the other to healthcare professionals. Amongst other things, Prof. Özlem Kurt Azap, a member of the TTB Coronavirus Inspection Group, says civilians should only wear masks if they are infected, or in contact with coronavirus patients.