Professor Mustafa Necmi Ilhan, a member of the Health Ministry Social Sciences Board that recommends COVID-19 measures for the government, says a four-day curfew should be discussed to decrease mobility during the upcoming New Year.
New Year celebrations are large-scale events, especially in big cities where people en masse take to the streets for a countdown to the new year. Ilhan says a curfew should be imposed from Dec. 31 through the following weekend. “We can restrict people from convening on the streets, we can prevent people from meeting at homes for New Year parties. The same curfew was applied in Ramadan Bayram,” he said, referring to the Muslim holiday that was observed in May when coronavirus cases were climbing.
After strict restrictions in the spring, Turkey eased into a normalization process early in the summer. The nation’s number of patients steadily decreased but as autumn began, the country started experiencing a new surge. The total number of patients now exceeds 506,000 while fatalities are near 14,000. Recoveries stand at 409,320.
Ilhan notes that the greatest measure against the pandemic is the one citizens take themselves. “People have to take responsibility. You see people coming together on the weekends, be it outside or at homes. Then, we see a rise in the number of patients in the ensuing days. Contact tracing work shows infections mostly stem from people coming together for weekends at homes. People should confine themselves to home and spend time only with family,” he warned. “People should not host parties at home or attend parties. No one should admit guests. If they need to come together at all, they should be in well-ventilated places, wear masks and be careful about social distancing,” he told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Wednesday.
Starting on Tuesday, the government imposed a 9 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew on weekdays. An all-out weekend lockdown will also be in place between Friday night and Monday morning for the first time in months.