Istanbul, İstiklal Avenue during coronavirus

Turkey overcomes first phase of fight against the coronavirus

Shopping centres, shops and hairdressers will open next week. In the 2nd phase, the mandatory use of masks and social distancing measures will be maintained.

Turkey has already overcome the first phase of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Wednesday, adding that it is time to take new steps to adapt the country to the “new normality“.

The pandemic is under control, but the reality of the virus has not changed. Households remain the safest place against the virus,” said Koca, explaining that Turkey has “completed the first phase of the fight against the coronavirus” but that citizens must now have “a controlled social life“.

“Our objective in the first phase was to bring the virus under control. Our strategy in the second phase will be a controlled social life. We are moving towards a free lifestyle, but with caution,” said the minister. “There are two basic rules in a controlled social life. First, wear a mask if you go out. Second, maintain social distance,” he said.

Koca said Turkey has managed to control the COVID-19 outbreak thanks to timely diagnosis of the virus with over a million tests performed, and innovative treatments being practised in Turkish hospitals. Now, in the new phase, the goal will be to completely eliminate the presence of the virus, reopen businesses, and establish new guidelines for social behaviour to prevent any new outbreak.

Shopping centres, shops and hairdressers will open next week

To get this, the government will release a series of regulations to companies and businesses to reopen their doors next week, and will also increase their capacity to perform tests while increasing traceability to detect possible infections.

Koca explained that shopping malls will be able to open their doors on May 11 with a limited capacity, although restaurants and cafes inside them will remain closed. Hairdressers and barbers may also reopen, though curfews will continue in major cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir.

According to the latest data on the evolution of the coronavirus in Turkey, in the last 24 hours 64 people died in the country due to COVID-19, bringing the total deaths to 3,584. On the other hand, 2,253 new cases were detected during the last day, totalling 131,744, while 78,202 persons have already been discharged after overcoming the disease.