Turkish medics call for tougher measures as COVID-19 surges

Reuters , Friday 26 Mar 2021

The Turkish Medics Association (TTB) said the government was unable to manage the pandemic and called the current conditions in Turkey a 'social assassination'

Turkey
Women wearing masks to help protect against the spread of coronavirus, walk in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, March 22, 2021 AP

Turkey's top medical group called on the government on Friday to reverse course and tighten COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in infections including curbs on social mobility and contact.

Daily infections and deaths have spiked over the past month after Ankara announced a period of gradual return to normal life. Nearly 29,000 new cases were officially reported Thursday, just under this year's highest level a day earlier.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Thursday the pandemic would be under control by late May or June, adding citizens must wear masks and follow social distancing.

But the Turkish Medics Association (TTB) said the government was unable to manage the pandemic and called the current conditions in Turkey a "social assassination".

"A surge of cases in a short time show that Turkey, just like many other countries in Europe, is facing a tsunami. While this surging tendency continues, we need more serious measures strengthened by public solidarity," the TTB said.

The top doctors group called for resignations at the health ministry, as well as more transparency on daily coronavirus figures and variants detected, vaccine procurements, and the criteria used to classify risks by province.

"Mobility in very busy streets in cities should be decreased. Mass contacts between people in enclosed areas should be limited," it said.

President Tayyip Erdogan and his government came under fire this week for holding a party congress with thousands of people, many of whom were seen violating social distancing rules, not wearing or improperly wearing masks.

Footage showed hundreds of people being brought to Ankara from across the nation for the congress in packed buses, most not wearing masks.

Since inoculations began on Jan. 14, Turkey has administered 14.6 million shots and 8.2 million people having received a first dose. It expects to receive 100 million doses of vaccines from various suppliers by the end of May.

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