Turkey, coronavirus pandemic

This is how coronavirus has changed behaviour of Turks

The coronavirus pandemic has caused Turks to eat less out, avoid using elevators and public transport, and stockpile masks.

Since the first case of coronavirus was detected in Turkey in March, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions of people in the country, not only because of quarantine and confinement measures, but also because of the way in which has changed the way of thinking and acting of many people. How has it affected the behaviour of the Turks?

To answer this question, Konya’s Necmettin Erbakan University conducted a sociological study that yields surprising results: the Turks have not only adopted customs such as stockpiling masks and disinfectant products; they also go less to restaurants and cafes and, for example, have developed phobias to closed spaces or people who cough.

To conduct the survey, which focuses on mental well-being, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 726 people from 40 provinces of Turkey were interviewed. 55.4% of those surveyed confessed that as a precaution against a possible shortage of PPE, they accumulated masks; 65.8% said they always carry hand sanitiser with them, and no less than 86.9% said that due to the pandemic they go less to restaurants and ask for less food at home.

Researchers highlight increased awareness of the dangers of the pandemic among participants who accumulate masks at home; in addition, the custom of always carrying disinfectant gel is growing, even when travelling between cities. Almost all those consulted -98.9%- also stated that they felt the need to wash their hands and disinfect themselves when they got home.

Phobias of people who cough and of elevators

41% of the participants in the study also confessed to have started buying and accumulating more hygiene products at home. Most of them have developed an aversion to people who cough or sneeze: this and other fears are significantly affecting people’s mental and emotional well-being, say the experts who carried out the survey.

There is also a change in shopping habits as a result of the pandemic; thus, for example, more budget is dedicated to purchase personal hygiene and cleaning products in general as a consequence of the perception of threat to their health that the virus represents: the fact of buying and accumulating these products gives many people a greater feeling of security in response to the threat posed by the pandemic.

An interesting fact is that many people in Turkey have developed a real phobia about using elevators, as closed places and more prone to contagion: 45.7% of those interviewed said they had stopped using elevators. Furthermore, 89.9% have stopped using public transport to avoid being indoors and close to other people: now they use the car or, if the distance is not very long, they go on foot or by bicycle.

On Thursday the Turkish Minister of Health announced another 1,243 positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours in the country, while 968 people had been discharged after overcoming COVID-19. Right now there are just over 17,500 active cases of coronavirus in Turkey, where the number of tests carried out to date exceeds 5.52 million. The pandemic has so far left 5,912 dead in the Eurasian country.