Turkey drops mask mandate for outdoors, contact tracing app code requirement

Turkey has lifted its requirement to wear masks outdoors and in “well-ventilated” indoor areas, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on March 2. Koca also said that the country has scrapped the use of HES codes -- assigned to citizens to allow authorities to track those who have been in contact with infected people.

Duvar English - Anadolu Agency  

Turkey has lifted its requirement to wear a mask outdoors, a longtime requirement to stem the spread of COVID-19, the country's health minister said March 2. 

"We no longer have to wear masks outdoors," Fahrettin Koca told reporters following a meeting of the country’s committee on the fight against the virus.

Koca also said that if ventilation is sufficient in closed environments and social distancing rules can be followed, it is "no longer necessary" to wear a mask indoors either.

"We are not removing masks from our lives, we carry them with us to wear when necessary,” he said. 

In another change, the use of HES codes – Turkey's  coronavirus contact tracing system – has been lifted, and the public will no longer have to show their code at the entrance to any building or event, said Koca.

Meanwhile, the country reported 56,780 new coronavirus cases and 189 related deaths on March 2. 

To counter the spread of the virus, Turkey has administered over 145.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since launching an immunization drive in January 2021.

More than 57.69 million people have received a first vaccine jab, while over 52.83 million have been given two doses. More than 27.17 million people have also had third booster shots.