The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions urged all employers March 31 to temporarily ban layoffs to prevent unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak. The confederation also called for a 15-day pause in production, except for urgent goods, and for the allocation of Turkey’s unemployment fund to workers in need.
Izmir mayor Tunç Soyer from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) joined Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu in urging the government in Ankara to declare a lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. While İmamoğlu has not specified a timeline for the lockdown he was suggesting for Istanbul, Soyer said that a two-week lockdown in Izmir would be beneficial.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said that the party will establish an Alternative Science Commission that will convey reliable information to the public. "The society needs reliable information above all else. A center that puts the people's security at its core must be formed. The most urgent need is to protect the society," Sancar said.
Istanbul police raided a coronavirus-themed party March 29, dismissing a crowd of about 100 and detaining some 12 people. “We’re detaining them on charges of ‘disobeying preventions targeted at contagious diseases,’” police said.
Taxis will now be allowed out in traffic every other day in Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara starting March 30, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said March 29. Taxis with license plates that end in an odd number will be allowed in traffic on the first day of the rule, while taxis with license plates that end in even numbers will be allowed in traffic the next, effectively cutting the number of taxis in traffic by half.
In the second episode of ‘Zeitgeist Turkey’, Duvar English’s Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki talk about the the shortfalls of the economic shield package of the government and survival mode in Turkish society set off by the coronavirus outbreak. They also discuss the political implications of sudden removal of the Transport Minister from his post following mounting criticism for holding the first tender for controversial Kanal Istanbul project last week.
Turkey's deaths from the coronavirus increased by 23 to 131 on March 29, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,815 to 9,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. He added that 9,982 tests had been conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to 65,446 since the outbreak begun.
A group of prominent Turkish academics have urged the government to announce an extraordinary spending program to tackle the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "The state should prepare an extraordinary spending program. It should include support for medical expenditures," the statement read. "Public and private hospitals must provide health services free of charge and the hospitals failing to abide by this must be deprivatized," it added.
Turkey halted intercity trains and limited domestic flights on March 28. In a notice detailing travel restrictions, the Interior Ministry said all citizens must remain in the cities they reside in and could only leave with a doctor's note, in the event of the death of a family member or if they have no accommodation.
Hacı Bişkin reports: A non-governmental organization that defends prisoners' rights, Turkey’s Civil Society in the Penal System (CISST), received an overwhelming number of complaints from inmates about coronavirus precautions. Inmates mostly complained about the over-capacity occupancy, the lack of social distancing and hygiene supplies.
Nuray Pehlivan reports: Thousands of migrants who remain at Turkey’s borders in hopes of crossing over to Europe are now being told to leave the area due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ankara’s recent instructions about the coronavirus directly contradict their Feb. 28 decision that allowed migrants crossings, leaving them once again in limbo.
Istanbul buries coronavirus casualties in coffins instead of shrouds, eliminates communal funeral prayers
Persons who die from coronavirus-related complications are buried in coffins in Istanbul and the communal funeral prayers before the burial are eliminated, an official from the provincial cemeteries directorate said. While morticians now wear personal protective equipment, burial spots aren't lined with lime.
Pharmacists in Turkey's capital Ankara are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment, Chair of Ankara's Pharmacists Chamber Taner Ercanlı said. "Our colleagues don't have masks to wear themselves, let alone to sell," Ercanlı said.
A 91-year-old Turkish man has recovered from the coronavirus after 10 days of treatment in London's Homerton University Hospital, Turkey's Chief of Cabinet to The President Hasan Doğan said March 25. The 91 year old is reportedly from the southern province of Kahramanmaraş, but lives in London.
A male patient in the southern province of Denizli escaped the hospital where he was awaiting his coronavirus test results. Police found Murat E. walking on a nearby street and called an ambulance to transport him back to the hospital.