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Coronavirus: mask no longer mandatory in Turkey

Mask is no longer mandatory outdoors, and also indoors if there is ventilation and social distance can be maintained.

Turkish Minister of Health, Fahrettin Koca, announced yesterday the end of the mandatory use of the mask in almost all circumstances, as part of the new measures in the face of the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and vaccination in the Eurasian country.

Explaining the new measures adopted in the country after the meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Coronavirus, Koca announced that masks will no longer be mandatory outdoors, but neither indoors “if ventilation is adequate.” It will also continue to be mandatory in places where social distance cannot be maintained, such as public transport (buses, trains, planes) and cinemas or theatres.

However, in places with ventilation and where distance can be maintained, such as schools, its use will not be mandatory. The minister also considered essential its use in certain environments, such as in the presence of people with immunosuppressive diseases or with chronic diseases, that make them more susceptible to the most serious consequences of the virus.

Koca also explained that it will no longer be necessary to scan the HES health QR code to access places such as cafes or restaurants; in addition, COVID-19 tests will no longer be mandatory for those who do not present symptoms of the coronavirus. In this regard, the minister reported that 92% of the people who tested positive for COVID and died last February as a result of the virus, were patients with other previous pathologies.

In addition to announcing the end of the obligation to wear masks in most circumstances, the health minister reported on the coronavirus incidence figures in Turkey, which show a general decrease in infections. Thus, in Istanbul the incidence in the week of February 12-18 was 617 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, while in İzmir it was 776 and in Ankara 1,216 cases per 100,000 people.