Starting Monday, travelers, concertgoers, filmgoers and people attending crowded events in Turkey are required to show negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results if they are not vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The new measure, announced last month, aims to curb the number of daily COVID-19 cases in the country, which reached 19,391 as of Sunday, with 269 fatalities. Since March 2020, Turkey reported more than 6 million cases and more than 52,000 deaths. With vaccination viewed as the only way to tackle the pandemic, authorities seek to boost the vaccination program and encourage more to get vaccinated. So far, more than 97 million doses have been administered.
Under new regulations, unvaccinated people and those who have not been infected with the coronavirus in the past will be required to show negative PCR test results for flights, intercity buses, train travel and trips by other means of mass transit. Companies operating flights and offering land travel will ask passengers to show negative PCR test results issued 48 hours at most before the trip. People who cannot proivde negative test results will not be allowed onboard planes, trains and buses. Test results can be checked via the Life Fits Into Home (HES) code stored in the eponymous Health Ministry app available on smartphones.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure crews will also regularly check mass transit vehicles traveling between cities for people violating the rules. Those not eligible for vaccines including children and infants will be allowed to travel. At airports, PCR test booths are set up for passengers. Vaccination is already widely available in the country at inoculation points set up everywhere, from hospitals and neighborhood clinics, to city and town squares.