While the phobia of the Corona epidemic, COVID-19, was sweeping the world, Turkey was dealing with the matter with realism and confidence..
Realism represents the awareness of the dimensions surrounding the repercussions of the spread of the pandemic, and the confidence manifest with its capabilities that can contain the crisis and deal with the worst scenarios, so the measures taken were calm, thoughtful and organized through the specialized channels and committees that were formed to follow up everything related to this epidemic.
The Ministry of Health and its many teams were prepared to spread throughout the country and called the scientific committee, consisting groups of experts who took charges by providing advices and recommendations to the government on the best way to confront the epidemic.
When the world was under closures and confusion, Turkey was dealing with the matter calmly and intelligently, did not implement lockdown, but instead taking all measures that would block the transmission of infection and reduces the chances of its spread.
The government's balanced response was not limited to the health level but extended to include all other sectors. This was represented by keeping the production sectors in an active state and working within specific measures, as well as schools, transportation, restaurants and cafes that remained in an active state within specific and strict standards, with an emphasis on maintaining the use of masks, social distancing and the use of antiseptics are everywhere.
While the rest of the world was floundering in dealing with the Corona pandemic, there was still a shortage of essential medical supplies, Turkey was exporting them, and because the government was keen to maintain and encourage the tourism activity, it didn`t require any PCR examination for those coming to Turkey until the end of 2020.
The tourists move freely in all areas, and there were even exceptions for tourists from some of the measures approved by the government.
It can be said that the Turkish government dealt with the Corona epidemic in two phases; the first phase included the previous description above. The second phase represented more stringent measures, with the spread of the news about the presence of new strains of the virus that began to spread in some European countries at the end of 2020, which required the government to increase of the package of measures to prevent the arrival and containment of new strains.
The Ministry of Health zas releasing daily reports about the increase number of unspecified infections, it was including only the severe cases that entered the hospital and did not include the cases that were followed up from their homes.
With the raise and expansion in the number of daily examinations and the announcement of all actual cases, it became clear that the numbers were increasing, which necessitated a return to the strict measures that had been reduced in a time while being careful not to affect the tourism sector to a large extent.
The following statement are some highlights about the Covid-19 scene managed by the Turkish government in handling thevirus pandemic :
- On January 12, 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed that a new Coronavirus is a cause of respiratory disease in a group of people in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, reported to the World Health Organization on December 31, 2019.
- The case fatality rate in COVID 19 was much lower than SARS in 2003, but the disease transmission rate was much greater, with a large number of deaths.
-Covid-19 came late to Turkey - on March 11. The first death from COVID-19 in the country occurred on March 15. Within a month, all 81 counties were affected.
Mr Erdogan also asked people not to allow guests to enter their homes and ban large gatherings in private residences for New Year's celebrations, religious celebrations, or funeral parlours. Funerals and weddings were restricted to 30 people.
-People over the age of 65 or under 20 have been banned from using public transportation. They`re already under restrictions that allow them to leave their homes for only three hours a day.
- Only shopping malls, supermarkets,and hairdressers are open for service from 10:00 - 20:00 .
- Cinemas, football fields, cafes, tea gardens, internet / electronic game halls, billiard halls, hookah lounges, Turkish baths, saunas, massage parlours, swimming pools, and amusement parks are also closed.
- All education and training activities for public schools became via distance education.
The hybrid approach aims to keep the workforce operating in an already impressive economy while limiting the virus's spread as much as possible.
The Turkish outbreak was the fastest in the world. Turkey stood out from the rest of Europe by not ordering a legal lockdown, the government kept many companies open and allowed companies to set their guidelines regarding workers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would ask everyone to stay home from 9 pm to 5 am on weekdays and around the clock on weekends, from Friday evening to Monday morning.
There were fears that the death toll would rise and turn Turkey into another Italy, which was then the worst affected country, but the situation was pretty good,three months has passed without a total lockdown.
The new restrictions on daily life have proven successful in reducing the number of patients admitted, according to the hospital's reports.
According to the health authorities report :"With the start of the restrictions, we have seen a significant drop in the number of patients being admitted to the emergency room," .
Turkey falls into the category of many countries that responded quickly with trials, tracing, isolation and restrictions on movement," said Dr Jeremy Rossman, lecturer in virology at the University of Kent, in an interview with the BBC. "It is among a small group of countries that have been very effective in limiting the spread of the virus."
On September 30, 2020, Turkish Health Minister Fakhruddin Koca acknowledged that since July 29, the number of reported cases was limited to symptomatic patients that require monitoring, which was met with criticism by the Turkish Medical Association, starting from November 25 adding the number of cases. That carry the symptoms of the epidemic as well as the asymptomatic patients.
Turkey has taken a "series of measures" related to fiscal policy, including tax exemptions and deferrals, as well as credit guarantees and loan delays.
- VAT and Social Security payments to more than 2 million taxpayers have been deferred for six months. Income tax returns and payments for 1.9 million citizens have been postponed.
- State-owned banks announced loans with lower interest rates and deferred payments. Additional credit support to companies valued at 450 billion TL was provided.
- Twenty billion TL support the cash salary.
- Banks have deferred repayment of corporate and individual loans.A minimum wage subsidy of 7 billion TL was provided
- Telework is encouraged and supported for both the public sector and the private sector. Work allowance was provided for a short time.
- The minimum pension has been increased to 1,500 TL. Additional support of 3 billion TL has been provided to the municipalities.
- Insurance coverage on corporate receivables has been increased to 125 million TL. Thirty-two thousand healthcare employees will be appointed.
- The aid of 1,000 Turkish Liras was provided to more than 2 million citizens.
- All healthcare employees received performance salaries at the highest level for three months, and a fund of 4.5 billion Turkish liras was allocated for such payments.
Turkey says it might stop exporting masks due to domestic needs. Restrictions have been imposed on face masks (which can still be exported as long as domestic demand is met). Exports of other items, such as medical/sanitary gloves and medical suits, are under review.
• (March 18), the government unveiled measures to support labour markets, including doubling the part-time compensation work plan to four months.
•(October 27) the part-time compensatory work system was extended until 31.12.2020.
• (March 17) The Turkish central bank cut key interest rates by 100 basis points. The bank said it would also provide banks with the most significant amount of liquidity they need through today's facilities and overnight parking. Postponing the repayment of loans by companies for three months and will provide additional financial support to the affected companies
The residency tax has been abolished until November.
Social security premiums have been postponed for six months for the retail, iron and steel sectors, shopping malls, automotive, entertainment and hospitality industries, food and beverage and textile companies, in addition to the event planning sectors .
Providing financial assistance to importers affected by the global epidemic.
• Measures taken in the actions to be implemented regarding import controls for plant foods and foodstuffs in terms of the minimum contact and personal health protection.
• Removed additional customs duties for medical masks (for single use only), ozone therapy, oxygen therapy, air therapy, artificial respiration or other respiratory therapeutic devices.
As of February 20, 2021, Turkey has 2,631,876 confirmed cases, 2,518,758 recovered 27,983 deaths and a mortality rate of 329 per million people.
Starting December 30, 2020, all international arrivals aged six years and over must have taken a COVID-19 PCR test with a negative result within 72 hours before their flight. Passengers must present the test results to the airline at the time of check-in. Passengers who do not give a negative PCR test on the flight to Turkey were not allowed. This requirement will remain in effect until March 31, 2021.
As of December 21, all flights to and from the United Kingdom, Denmark and South Africa have been temporarily suspended.
Check to see if you need a visa before travelling to Turkey, and apply online here.
All visa applicants must have valid medical insurance during their stay in Turkey.
Passports should be valid for six months minimum.