Members of the Turkish Parliament were not asked to self-quarantine after a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) tested positive for COVID-19, although everyday people who have been in contact with confirmed coronavirus infections are expected to do so, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.
Mahmut Celadet Gaydalı, a lawmaker from the HDP who attended a meeting of parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee on Monday, reportedly said his COVID-19 test had come back positive and went home to self-isolate.
The incident was announced to the deputies by committee chairman Abdullah Nejat Koçer from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Koçer asked the MPs to vacate the area, saying the meeting would continue after a recess of 30 minutes during which time workers would disinfect the area.
In Turkey people who test positive for coronavirus as well as anyone who has been in contact with them must self-quarantine for 14 days.
There have been numerous cases in which people were fined and several more where they were given suspended sentences in line with Article 195 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) for refusing to comply with pandemic control measures.
While Turks are expected to follow COVID-19 measures including the 14 days of self-isolation for anyone who comes in contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus, the people who actually make the laws are not expected to do the same, Cumhuriyet pointed out.
The incident took place at a time when fears about the coronavirus spiraling out of control in Turkey have increased due to alarming surges in cases across the country and reports of hospitals running out of beds to accommodate patients.
The COVID-19 death toll in the country stands at 11,601, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care is 3,610.