Turkey’s COVID Curfew Fails to Halt Surging Second Wave That is Sweeping the Country.
Coronavirus deaths in Turkey rose to a record for the seventh consecutive day on Sunday, November 29, the number of new cases has remained high despite efforts by President Tayyip Erdogan’s government to contain the second wave of infections.
Turkey is expected to report this week that its economy has surprisingly bounced back from a sharp coronavirus-induced slump earlier this year. But that recovery, which is a key to Erdogan’s sustained political support, could now be threatened by the new outbreak.
The government introduced tighter measures a week ago including nightly curfews at weekends, restrictions on movements of people of non-working age, a move to online schooling and limiting restaurants and cafes to takeaway services.
However, the measures seem to have done little to halt a remorseless rise in cases and fatalities, with Sunday’s toll of 185 dead 45% above the peak of the first wave in April, and the number of new cases behind only the United States, India and Brazil – all countries with far larger populations than Turkey.
More than 29,000 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, with Saturday’s figure of 30,103 being the highest recorded, however, authorities have only been including asymptomatic cases – as most other countries have regularly done – since Wednesday.
Doctors and opposition politicians have called for stricter measures, but with shops, restaurants and hotels already hit by the new clampdown, the government is anxious to avoid further economic pain and said people had a personal duty to cooperate.
“Our health army is under a heavy burden,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter. “Each of us is responsible for following the measures.” Speaking after midday prayers on Friday, Erdogan attributed the resurgent pandemic to people flouting regulations.
“Masks and (social) distance are very important, hygiene is very important. As long as these are not heeded, especially in big cities, the increasing continuation of (the virus) becomes inevitable,” he told reporters.