Turkey takes a different coronavirus approach

Turkey takes a different coronavirus approach
The immediate curfew caused panic buying in Turkey. Source: Getty Images
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: Turkey takes a different approach to contain the novel coronavirus. Last weekend, the government of Turkey implemented a 48-hour curfew for 31 provinces, impacting three quarters of the country’s population.

Government critics have been asking these types of sweeping steps to curb the spread of Covid-19. But the initial outcome of the decision is disastrous.

The government announced the curfew just two hours before it was to go into effect, which caused panic buying in some areas as people flocked to grocery stores and bakeries with little regard for social distancing measures.

Turkish social media was flooded with coronavirus dark humor on this approach: a husband caught in breach of the curfew fleeing the scene leaving his car and wife behind; a man who tries to dodge the penalty fee by saying he doesn’t speak Turkish, but the police figure out that he does.

Following huge chaos across the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the nation, arguing that Turkey is strong enough to protect and provide for its citizens. He urged the people to stay at home and announced another weekend curfew.

In fighting against coronavirus, Turkey is charting its own path — as it does in so many other ways. And its approach to contain the virus is also unlike others.

During the weekend, the stay-at-home order only applies to those whose age is under 20 or over 65. All other citizens are technically allowed to go outside, although many small businesses are closed. Restaurants are open for delivery or pick-up only, banks have limited hours and public places like parks are off limits.

By contrast, construction sites and factories are in full swing, along with other businesses that are unwilling to take an economic hit.

Some experts say partial restrictions like Turkey’s can be successful — as long as those who are vulnerable continue to be protected from others and those who do goes out follow the appropriate measures.

Dr. Muhammad Munir, a virologist at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, said: “It’s an alternative strategy,” further explaining that healthy people going out for routine shopping does not necessarily do any harm.

“Eighty percent of the people infected have recovered. So, if it’s healthy people who don’t have underlying causes, then that is absolutely helpful.”

He said that the only benefit of a lockdown is that the spread of the disease will be slow, the pressure on the hospitals will be reduced.

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