Turkish doctors oppose decision to lift PCR test requirement for unvaccinated in certain venues

Doctors and medical associations have voiced widespread opposition against a government decision to lift PCR test requirements for unvaccinated people for bus and train travels, schools and workplaces.

Duvar English 

Turkey’s Interior Ministry has issued a circular over the weekend which lifted PCR test requirements for unvaccinated people for bus and train travels, events including concerts, cinema, theatre, students camps as well as public and private workplaces and schools. Test requirements were however upheld for passengers traveling on domestic flights.

PCR test requirements were also maintained for unvaccinated workers in nursing homes, kindergartens, and orphanages as well as for prison inmates.

This circular has caused uproar amongst Turkey’s medical community. “The Covid-19 virus does not carry the feature of being transmitted on planes but not on trains and buses. Those governmental decisions are unscientific,” the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said, according to reporting by daily Birgün. 

The Turkish Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (KLIMIK) warned that the spread of the Omicron variant could clog the country’s health system due to an excessive load of patients. It stated that “the new government measures could lead to a total loss of control of the pandemic” and called on the government to “review its latest decisions regarding PCR tests.”

İzmir Association of Family Doctors President Dr. Muhteber Çolak also castigated this new circular emphasizing that the “epidemic was not over.”

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Ankara Gamze Taşcıer brought this circular to parliament and filed a question to the Health Ministry.