Turkey held a massive nationwide inspection into the implementation of COVID-19 measures as the number of new cases has recorded a drastic surge in the last week, with senior government authorities urging the nation to act responsibly to avoid a second wave of the pandemic.
Thousands of security officers conducted inspections in 81 provinces to check whether people were wearing masks outdoors and whether workplaces, restaurants and cafes were following hygiene and social distancing rules.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told reporters that concerns over the second wave in the pandemic are seen almost everywhere in the world, stressing, “Let’s not come across the same situation. Let’s self-discipline.”
The number of the new cases has hit around 1,200 in Turkey, showing around 20 percent increase only in the last week, concerning the authorities that it can further increase as the people have grown unfazed during trips to summer resorts.
This inspection “should not be regarded as an operation against terror as though a trap set before citizens,” Soylu said. “We are just trying to show the need to act in conscience all together.”
On a question whether Turkey would re-impose curfews, Soylu said, “It is not on our agenda; that’s out of question.”
However, there are reports that the government is mulling partial and regional lockdowns in the coming period should the surge continue to increase.
Calls for ‘acting responsibly’
One growing concern is whether primary, secondary and high schools will actually open on the scheduled date Aug. 31 as declared by the Education Ministry amid the worrying spread of the pandemic in the country.
Education Minister Ziya Selçuk called on the nation not to speculate over the opening of the schools, which concerns around 18 million students and teachers.
“Suggesting that ‘Schools should not open’ is as simple as going out without wearing a mask, disobeying social distancing and ignoring all the measures. Anybody going out should feel the responsibility of 18 million students. Please, let’s implement measures,” Zelçuk said on Twitter.
Turkey plans to open schools on Aug. 31, but has already developed a four-way scenario in the event that the outbreak in the country worsens.
Similarly, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca called on members of the public to be responsible regarding obeying the basic rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus. “Despite the course of the pandemic, those who argue that COVID-19 is being exaggerated should stop giving advices,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hurriyet Daily News