Turkish authorities toughened measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Tuesday, August 4. The move came as officials announced 1083 new cases in the past 24-hours, crossing what President Tayyip Erdogan called a "critical threshold" to reconsider restrictions. The new measures revolve around an increase in surveillance of compliance with regulations, with increased tracing, quarantine checks, and a pilot call center to monitor complaints against individuals breaching rules. Funerals, weddings, and large gatherings will also be monitored to assure that guests abide by regulations.
Residents and Turkish citizens must request a HES (Hayat Eve Sigar) code prior to boarding domestic or international flights, trains, and ferries. The wearing of face masks is mandatory in all crowded places, such as markets, supermarkets, hairdressers, and barber shops, as well as on all public transport. Certain areas also require masks to be worn in private vehicles with more than one occupant. Many areas require face masks at all times while outside the home, including in Istanbul and in Ankara. Residence Permit holders over 65 years of age are required to observe a curfew between 20:00 and 10:00 (local time), and under 18s must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Those over 65 that do not hold a Residence Permit must remain at home at all times. Curfew measures do not apply to those visiting for tourism.
As of August 4, there have been 234,934 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and 5765 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.