Doctors Skeptical of Interests Behind Turkey's COVID Restrictions Softening

'Political and economic interests must not take precedence over human life', Turkish Medical Association warns, as Turkey reopens restaurants and some schools

Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
People at a self-service restaurant that reopened after the easing of restrictions, in Istanbul.
People at a self-service restaurant that reopened after the easing of restrictions, in Istanbul.Credit: Murad Sezer/Reuters
Reuters

Turkish restaurants reopened and many children returned to school on Tuesday after the government announced steps to ease COVID-19 curbs even as cases edged higher, raising concerns in the top medical association.

On Monday evening, President Tayyip Erdogan lifted weekend lockdowns in low- and medium-risk cities and limited lockdowns to Sundays in those deemed higher risk under what he called a "controlled normalization".

Zionism’s tragic mistake, according to one of Israel’s harshest critics - LISTEN

Subscribe
0:00
-- : --

Cafe and restaurant owners, limited to takeaway service for much of last year, have long urged a reopening of in-house dining after sector revenues dropped 65 percent. They also want relief from growing debt, and from social security and tax payments.

"We were serving 4,000-5,000 people a week. Now with takeaway services we are serving only 500 people," Istanbul-based Pideban restaurant owner Yusuf Kaptanoglu said before the easing measures were announced.

"I did not benefit from any support including loan support," he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, yesterday.Credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/Reuters

Across Turkey, pre- and primary schools as well as grades 8-12 resumed partial in-person education.

Yet the moves come as new daily coronavirus cases rose to 9,891 on Monday, the highest since January 11 and up from 8,424 a day earlier, according to official data. Cases were around 6,000 in late January.

"The number of mutant virus cases is increasingly rising. We do not see conditions to return to an old 'normal'," the Turkish Medics' Association said on Twitter, calling for higher rates of testing and inoculation.

"Political and economic interests must not take precedence over human life and science," it added.

Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has administered 8.96 million vaccines in a campaign that began in mid-January. More than 7 million people have received a first shot and 1.89 million have received a second.

Comments