Turkey has lifted the final COVID-19 pandemic restriction, allowing passengers on public transportation and flights to board without protective masks as long as the daily number of cases remains under 1000.
The Health Ministry maintained its word and lifted one of the last two COVID-19 mask prohibitions as the outbreak subsided. As of Monday, masks are no longer required to board public transit, including buses and planes. As a result, hospitals are the only places where protective masks are still required.
Following the arrival of the pandemic in 2020, masks will be mandatory in Turkey. After many ups and downs, it appeared that the country had won its war against the terrible disease that had killed almost 97,000 people. Previously, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stated that if the number of daily cases fell below 1,000 for three consecutive days, the mask requirement would be lifted.
On the final day, Koca announced the mask mandate decision on Twitter. “Masks are no longer worn outside of hospitals. Despite this, we may utilize masks in congested settings, particularly on public transportation.” This is what he said. The government overturned its long-standing indoor mask regulation in April.
According to government data released on Sunday, Turkey recorded 864 new coronavirus infections the day before. The Ministry of Health reported two deaths, 1,107 recoveries, and 129,961 tests as a result of the outbreak. Turkey has donated more than 147.72 million doses of vaccine to prevent the virus’s spread since launching a vaccination program in January 2021. Since December 2018, more than 528 million COVID-19 cases and 6.28 million deaths have been documented in at least 192 countries and territories, according to Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
The removal of the mask requirement on public transportation received little attention. Some people continued to wear masks in Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, which used to account for the majority of coronavirus cases, while others had a more relaxed trip. Some wore masks on purpose, fearful that the infections would resurface.
On Monday, Latif Mavzer, an Istanbul bus passenger, told Demiroren News Agency (DHA) that he was relieved that the legislation had been repealed because he was no longer compelled to wear a face mask for the first time in years. “In any case, the vast majority of people were not paying attention. I recently wore it out of consideration for anyone who might be harmed (rather than fearing being infected myself). People would argue and fight if a person did not wear a mask. At the very least, comparable issues will not arise in the future.” He stated this.
Münire Belkuş, another passenger, was concerned about the decision. “This illness is far from over. As everyone continues to travel around, the streets are becoming increasingly packed. Everyone thinks it’s over. People should proceed with considerable caution. I’ll work with you,” The disguised traveler stated. “Even though no one wears them, I believe they are dangerous. I frequently see people coughing in crowds. They are a danger to others “She went on.
Turkey owes a lot to mass immunization and omicron variation, which protected the population and increased immunity, resulting in fewer deaths and hospitalizations. Due to a lack of new coronavirus infections, the Ankara Training and Research Hospital, Turkey’s first “quarantine and pandemic hospital,” announced the closing of its COVID-19 ward and intensive care sections on Monday.
Around 11,000 people have been treated at the hospital in the last two years. When Turkish citizens evacuated from China and confined in China made news in February 2020, it was one month before Turkey declared the first coronavirus case. Due to COVID-19, the hospital admitted 2,970 patients and lost one physician. Chief Physician Professor Rahmi Klc told DHA on Monday that they initially served patients or confined individuals, including Iranians deported from the country.
“Following that, our country began building more epidemic hospitals and extending its services. Coronavirus patients could only access one intensive care unit, which needed to be expanded. At the height of the outbreak, patients occupied 100 intensive care beds and 150 regular beds.” Klc stated that there were no coronavirus patients at the time, but that if a new outbreak occurred, COVID-19 wards would be reopened.
Professor Günay Tuncer Ertem of the hospital’s infectious diseases section recalls the range of patients. “We delivered babies to sick mothers as well as a 98-year-old patient. This patient was one of the oldest and youngest victims, along with a 1-year-old infant. Our most recent COVID-19 patient was released four days ago after recuperating “This was brought up by Ertem.