Even though there are now 163,000 cases detected in Turkey and even more cases that are undetected, the malls are opening. At what cost and for whose sake they are opening? It is quite apparent that they are not opening for our sake; the data is clear. When you review the equation from the point of view of the novel coronavirus, then you have five huge reasons not to step inside these malls.
Prof. Ahmet Demircan from the Health Ministry's Science Commission has criticized people for flocking to shopping malls amid the coronavirus pandemic, while urging those who absolutely need to go shopping to be as quick as possible in leaving the malls. "The queues in front of shopping malls are beyond comprehension," he said.
Some 2.3 million people visited shopping malls in two days after Turkish authorities eased restrictions imposed over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Shopping Centers and Investors Association head Hüseyin Altaş said that the numbers are on expected levels.
A document titled "COVID-19 normalization plan" with the presidential seal raised question marks in terms of its authenticity on social media, as the file can't be found on any official website. A number of Turkish media outlets reported that the PDF wasn't authentic and that no "normalization plan" was officially announced.
An infectious diseases expert warned that there are some 400,000 COVID-19 patients in Turkey who may not know they’re sick, but could still infect others. The expert urged widespread testing among service workers and healthcare workers as Turkey begins normalization by reopening shopping malls and hair salons.
Turkish Health Minister warns on first day of reopening: Being too close will bring an early separation
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca criticized consumers for flocking to shopping malls on the first day they would open after nearly two months of COVID-19 closures. While pointing to the lack of social distancing in a photograph that showed a queue outside one shopping mall Koca warned that "being too close will bring an early separation".
Turkey's main opposition CHP and the Future Party have criticized the government for prioritizing the reopening of shopping malls while keeping the parliament shut. Ahmet Davutoğlu, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also asked why "Erdoğan is locking himself” at his residence in Istanbul if Turkey has overcome the pandemic to the extent that it can reopen the malls.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry and Health Ministry urged citizens to not relax their attention to COVID-19 precautionary measures. The message came after the government partially lifted curfews and reopened malls, barber shops and hair salons.
Istanbul municipality committee warns early ‘normalization’ could lead to a sudden surge in infections
The Istanbul Municipality's Science Committee warned against early relaxing of COVID-19 precautions as the country begins normalization. The municipality criticized the reopening of shopping malls, hair salons and barber shops, and the start of the national soccer league.
Like the rest of the world, Turkey is discussing when and how to ease the coronavirus restrictions. While shopping malls are to be reopened in 10 days, the Parliament is to be shut down until June 2 and courts until June 15. This gives an idea of the government’s priorities.