Government plans to take new measures before schools re-open

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Medical experts and authorities are scrambling to come up with strict strategies to follow and implement by Sept. 21, when schools are expected to re-open, to curtail a surge in COVID-19 cases in Turkey and before winter arrives.

Different suggestions have reportedly been discussed at meetings to control the spread of the pandemic and to prevent an expected increase in cases in autumn.

The recommendations are listed under three headings in the evaluations made by relevant ministries, especially the Health Ministry.

A four-week strategy will be developed until Sept. 21, when children will physically go to schools.

The Health Ministry has recently carried out 67,000 tests a day, the highest since the 54,000-mark during the peak of the pandemic in the country in April. One of the suggestions put forth is to increase the daily number of tests conducted to 150,000 a day.

Taxi, bus and tram drivers, restaurant workers and cleaners were identified as groups most exposed to the virus in studies conducted by EU countries. Another recommendation is to start carrying out health screenings starting from “risk groups” and to isolate those who are positive in the fight against the virus.

Different suggestions have also been made to overcome the problems that occur in self-isolation.

Some people have been found to be breaching self-quarantine despite carrying the virus.

Admitting violators to quarantine dormitories is also among issues discussed in addition to imposing fines to them during checks carried out by the Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned that although new patients can easily recover from the disease, the rising infection rates also gave way to an increase in critically ill people.

New restrictions in capital Ankara

Authorities in Ankara have introduced a set of new restrictions in order to halt the spread of the virus in the country’s capital.

According to new measures announced, people aged 65 and above, or those suffering from chronic diseases, will be prohibited from attending weddings, funerals, condolence visits, marketplaces and social activities in Ankara.

Weddings especially are accelerating the transmission of the virus and reversing the measures taken against the spread of the pandemic, according to health professionals.

Footages from all over the country show that social distance rules are disregarded, participants do not wear face masks and rules are not being followed at weddings.

Despite all the warnings and rules, it is seen that the wedding participants maintain a close contact by performing the traditional halay dance.

People in Turkey celebrate weddings with the traditional halay dance, which involves people holding each other’s hands and their shoulders touching each other’s forming long lines.

Hurriyet Daily News

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