Turkey, masks during coronavirus pandemic

Turkey considering jail sentences for those violating quarantine

Authorities could apply up to one year in jail for those who skip quarantine, among other measures to stop infections.

Turkish authorities are considering the option of imposing prison sentences on those who do not comply with quarantine measures due to the increase in coronavirus infections, according to information published in the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet.

According to the information published in the Turkish newspaper, the government is thinking of resorting to a hitherto unenforced article of the penal code – Article 195 – which stipulates that anyone who does not comply with a quarantine measure can be sentenced to a imprisonment of between 2 and 12 months in jail.

The application of this article together with the increase in economic sanctions could have a strong deterrent effect among those who refuse to comply with quarantine despite having tested positive for coronavirus or having been in contact with infected people. Until now, those who did not comply with the quarantine at home were being forced to spend it in accommodations managed by the State, having to pay the expenses in retaliation.

According to the newspaper Hürriyet, the authorities are also considering other additional measures against those who fail to comply with the quarantine period, such as temporarily prohibiting them from access to public services.

Government does not rule out restrictions and quarantines at local level

With these and other measures, government expects to reduce the contagion figures to those in April or May. For now, the government rules out re-applying curfews, but not imposing more restrictions or even local quarantines in specific areas – towns, neighbourhoods, districts – where there are more infections. According to data published on Wednesday, 1,767 new positives and 72 deaths from COVID-19 were detected in the last 24 hours in Turkey.

It is also studying changing working hours in companies – a measure already introduced in the public sector – to avoid crowds in public transport at peak times, especially in large cities, as well as modifying the opening hours of commercial centers and supermarkets.

On the other hand, this Thursday the Turkish Interior Ministry ordered the governors of the 81 provinces of the country to initiate criminal proceedings against those who commit “perjury” by not informing the authorities about their contacts. Apparently, many patients infected with coronavirus refuse to provide all the data about the people with whom they have been in contact, especially if they work in a private company, to avoid the cessation of activity.