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.
Doctor says there are thousands of coronavirus cases in Turkey in secret footage, forced to apologize
Doctor Güle Çınar was forced to apologize after saying in a secret footage that there are thousands of coronavirus cases in Turkey contrary to the numbers cited by officials. “The number of cases is at thousands. The numbers are not at hundreds as officials reveal. It's now in the society and Istanbul is in a terrible condition. It also started terrible in Ankara,” Çınar says in the video that surfaced on social media 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.
The capacity of intensive care units in Turkey have been under scrutiny, with experts pointing to the shortcomings that may emerge if the number of coronavirus cases continue to increase in the country. Experts point to the lack of beds, ventilators and healthcare professionals. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Fikret Şahin, who is also a medical doctor, said that the beds will be left insufficient if the number of cases exceed 250,000.
Turkey's lira weakened to 6.52 against the dollar on March 19, hitting its weakest level since September 2018. In August and September 2018, Turkish Lira hit record lows against the dollar when relations between Turkey and the United States significantly deteriorated over the imprisonment of a U.S. pastor in Turkey.
Turkey's Presidency has requested the people who will attend President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's address to the nation to keep their distance, in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). "Please leave this seat empty and keep your distance for your health," read warnings placed on some of the seats in the hall.
Prof. Alpay Azap, a member of Health Ministry’s Science Council, said that Turkey has lost its chance to be like Singapore and needs to spend its energy on not becoming like Italy. "Turkey has reached the critical case threshold of 100. Considering that we conduct a small amount of tests and that 20 percent of the patients come to hospitals and get diagnosed, we may very well have reached the critical threshold days ago," he said.
The Chairman of Turkey’s Council of Higher Education (YÖK) announced Turkish universities will start online classes on March 23. Schools that possess the necessary digital equipment will be holding online classes online and YÖK will provide remote education material to other schools.
Refugees in Istanbul have called on the authorities to act to protect migrants and refugees from coronavirus, saying that they were left to die amid the increasing number of cases. Speaking to Mesopotamia Agency, the refugees said that they took shelter in mosques since congregational prayers were suspended on March 16 to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the financial developments that take place in relation to the decrease in oil prices will provide additional advantages to Turkey. Speaking during a high-level coronavirus meeting, Erdoğan said that Turkey is in a much better situation than Britain, France and Germany.
A minibus driver in Turkey’s capital has dressed his vehicle in a surgical mask to draw attention to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The driver covered the bus’ front bumper in a white cloth that he attached to the side mirrors.
HDP deputy Meral Danış Beştaş was criticized for not imposing quarantine on herself upon returning from Germany on March 8. "From what we see on social media, Beştaş returned from Germany and her quarantine period is ongoing under normal circumstances," AKP Group Deputy Chair Cahit Özkan said in parliament. "Yes, I went to Germany and came back. All the necessary tests were carried out at the airport, my health is perfectly fine. If there were problems, I wouldn't jeopardize my friends and the society," Beştaş said in return.
A total of 28 pilgrims were caught in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum after escaping from coronavirus quarantine. "We sent them to the quarantine areas in [the Central Anatolian province of] Konya and [the capital] Ankara. There are those who manage to avoid quarantine. Our citizens should let us know if they witness such an incident," Erzurum Governor Okay Memiş said.
The evacuation of a total of 2,807 Turkish citizens from Germany, Spain, France, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands was completed, Vice President Fuat Oktay said. "All measures for their health, safety, nutrition, and accommodation have been taken in line with the rules set by the Health Ministry and Science Board," he said.