mask, COVID pandemic

The end of the pandemic? Goodbye to masks in Turkey

From today on, masks are no longer mandatory in Turkey, except in hospitals and public transport. The end of the pandemic seems closer.

Turkey today takes another step towards the “new normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic with the goodbye to the mandatory use of masks both outdoors and indoors, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan announced yesterday that, given the decrease of coronavirus infections in the country, from this Wednesday on its use will only be mandatory in hospitals and on public transport.

Although both exceptions in which wearing a mask will be mandatory are still maintained, the expectation of both the government and the health authorities is that in a short time its use in hospitals and transport will also cease to be mandatory, after last March 2 Turkey already announced the end of the mandatory use of mask outdoors and in well-ventilated indoors.

“The indoor obligation will remain in force only on public transport and in health centres for a little longer, until the number of cases drops below 1,000 per day,” Erdoğan announced yesterday during a press conference after a Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Coronavirus in the Turkish capital, Ankara. In the last 24 hours, Turkey registered only 2,511 new positive cases and 14 deaths from COVID-19, and infections are at minimum levels for the last two weeks.

Despite everything, the Turkish president stressed that for those people who have chronic diseases as well as for people over 65, authorities “recommend” that they should continue to use masks. Erdoğan, who wanted to thank all health workers for their tremendous efforts during the pandemic, further announced that the Scientific Committee will no longer meet regularly, except if there is an emergency.

Vaccination, key to ending the pandemic

Recalling the key importance of vaccination, the Turkish president stressed that “Turkey has been 1 of the 9 countries in the world that has produced its own COVID vaccine“, referring to the Turkovac vaccine, which has been administered in hospitals through the country since December 30.

“This pandemic has taught us that we have to be self-sufficient in health,” Erdoğan said. “European countries have lifted many restrictions, and I think our country has reached the same point as well,” he added.

In his first statements after Erdoğan announced the goodbye to the mask in Turkey, the Turkish Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca stressed that they felt “happy to leave difficult days behind.” “We have put an end to the fear of the pandemic. Now, we are safe. We have vaccines and medicines,” said Koca, heralding the soon end of the pandemic.