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Turkish Health Ministry reduced quarantine for close COVID contact to help business: chamber leader

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Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, president of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), tweeted on Tuesday that the Turkish Health Ministry had reduced the number of mandatory quarantine days for people in close contact, as defined by the ministry, with COVID-19 positive cases from 14 to 10 days to help big business.

The ministry made the change on Monday, saying that they were following guidelines from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

“In a bid to solve the problems at our industrial plants, the health ministry updated the quarantine period for close contact with COVID-19 cases from 14 days to 10 days. If a PCR test comes back negative, the quarantine can end after seven days, and [the person] is able to return to work on the eighth day,” Hisarcıklıoğlu tweeted.

Hisarcıklıoğlu’s tweet received mixed reactions from Turkish users, with some claiming that the greed of big business was the main reason for the skyrocketing cases in the country.

Hisarcıklıoğlu tweeted a second time to clarify that he meant the health ministry had updated the quarantine period in line with the rest of the world, saying that is what businesses were seeking from the authorities.

Many users on Twitter remained unconvinced, seeing the change as a favor to big business; however, some argued that the change was made in line with CDC and ECDC guidelines and that there was nothing unusual about it.

The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in Turkey continues to rise, with 32,137 new cases and 203 deaths on Dec. 7. The country’s coronavirus death toll has reached 15,103 since March.

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