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Turkey to seek negative COVID-19 tests for intercity travel, public events

Turkey to seek negative COVID-19 tests for intercity travel, public events

Turkey reinforced its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic through a negative PCR test requirement for intercity travel and some public events for those who are not vaccinated, amid a comprehensive vaccination program continuing in the country.

As of Sept. 6, a negative PCR test will be mandatory for those who have not been vaccinated or not recovered from the coronavirus, to enter concerts, cinemas and theaters, a circular released by the Interior Ministry said. A similar requirement is also expected to be introduced for schools and universities as the country is getting ready to fully resume in-person education in early September.

Public organizations and events will be able to check through the visitors’ HES (Life Fits Into Home, in Turkish “Hayat Eve Sığar”) code – the coronavirus contact tracing system – whether they have been vaccinated, recovered from an infection, whether the person is considered scientifically immune after having the disease or if they have a negative PCR test not older than the past 48 hours.

“If the person has not contracted the disease, or is not vaccinated, or doesn’t have a negative PCR test, they will not be allowed to participate in the event,” said the statement.

There will be also a negative PCR test requirement for intercity trips by planes, buses, trains or other public transportation vehicles, excluding private vehicles, for people not vaccinated or who have not recovered from an infection. Those without the mentioned criteria will not be allowed for intercity trips, it added.

The circular underlined that “the most powerful” element in the fight against the pandemic and to minimize the risk posed by the virus to public health and public order is a vaccination carried out voluntarily, as well as hygiene, mask-wearing and adherence to social distancing rules.

The ministry emphasized that the number of cases, patients and deaths caused by the pandemic are at low levels in those who have completed the vaccination regime.

Turkey has administered some 87 million vaccines against COVID-19, mainly Sinovac’s Coronavac and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.