Scientists performing laboratory test

Turkey to conduct coronavirus tests for tourists traveling to the country

Health minister believes the virus is under control in Turkey, where discharged COVID-19 patients exceed 100,000, but stressed that the coronavirus pandemic has not yet been expired.

Turkey will carry out coronavirus detection tests on foreign tourists arriving in the country as part of plans to reopen the tourism sector, which plans to receive the first national tourists in late May and begin welcoming international tourists in June, as announced by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

“After the holiday (due to the end of Ramadan, at the end of May) we plan … to carry out tests on a massive scale for people arriving from abroad,” said the minister, adding that the preferable option is to use PCR tests with the tourists, instead of quick tests.

Koca stressed that the strategy to fight the coronavirus that Turkey has followed has proven successful, but warned citizens to continue to maintain social distance and avoid crowds. “We are going to defeat this virus, as it has been done throughout history,” he insisted.

The minister pointed out that although the use of masks and social distancing are important, they are not sufficient to guarantee 100% that no contagion occurs, so people should avoid risky situations. He also warned that although great progress has been made against the pandemic, it cannot yet be said that it has been defeated.

The virus is under control in Turkey

During a press conference held on Wednesday after attending a virtual meeting of the National Scientific Council on Coronavirus, Koca assured that since the number of patients who have passed COVID-19 continues to increase for the fifth week and now exceeds 100,000 “under these conditions, the pandemic is under control”. “Although we have a capacity to perform 50,000 tests a day, there is no longer need because of the drop in new cases,” he said.

Koca precisely attributed the success of the fight against the virus in Turkey to the ability to carry out daily tests but also to check the traceability of possible infections, explaining that a team made up of more than 6,000 people has worked day and night to follow up on possible contacts of positive cases, to avoid further contagion.

“A team of 6,239 members has contacted more than 722,000 people who had contact with a confirmed (coronavirus) patient. In this way, the people who probably had contracted the virus were quarantined before becoming carriers and infecting others. If we had only looked at the patients, it would have been a disaster,” concluded the minister.