Turkey, Feast of Sacrifice

Government calls for precaution against coronavirus on Feast of Sacrifice

Authorities and health experts ask to maintain social distance and the use of a mask during this Muslim holiday, and to avoid visiting relatives to not spread the virus.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca asked on Wednesday citizens, while announcing the latest figures on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, to maintain the necessary precautions against the virus, including social distance and use of mask, during the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice.

“Especially those over 65 and those with chronic illnesses should exchange congratulations over the phone (and not in person). There should be no hugging or shaking hands,” insisted Koca referring to the Feast of Sacrifice, which will be celebrated in Turkey between July 31 and August 3.

The minister also warned against the organization during the Muslim holiday of large gatherings, mass meals or events in closed spaces, and insisted on the need for prayers to be held in open places and maintaining social distance. He also urged that hygiene measures should be maintained during the slaughter of animals and the distribution of meat among neighbours and relatives, according to tradition.

Although the government has denied that it will impose a curfew on the occasion of the Feast of Sacrifice to avoid unnecessary displacements, the Turkish Minister of Health warned that although the numbers of new daily infections continue to drop and remain below one thousand, each day almost as many infections occur as recovered patients. “We have to reduce the number of new COVID-19 patients,” he stressed.

Coronavirus experts recommend during the Feast of Sacrifice to avoid visiting family members, something complicated because it is a deeply rooted tradition at this time. According to the latest data on the evolution of the virus in Turkey, in the last 24 hours 902 new cases and 19 deaths have been detected, bringing the total number of deaths to 5,545, while 1,203 patients were discharged in the last day.