Turkey’s medical community calls for at least 14-day lockdown to reduce infection rate

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Prominent healthcare organizations in Turkey have asked the government to declare a lockdown of at least 14 days in an attempt to bring the skyrocketing coronavirus infections in the country under control and save lives.

Turkey’s Health Ministry reported a record level of 33,198 new cases and 211 COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours on Tuesday. Turkey is among the hardest-hit countries in Europe.

President of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı told the Birgün daily that the country’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing and can no longer bear the burden of the increasing number of the coronavirus patients.

“People are put on ventilators on stretchers. Ambulances wait in lines in front of hospitals. The intensive care units are nearing a void. The shortest incubation period [for the coronavirus infection] is 14 days, so a lockdown of at least 14 days is of crucial importance,” said Fincancı.

She noted that a full lockdown would prevent the spread of the disease and lower the contagion rate.  

The Turkish government has taken some measures such as imposing weekend lockdowns, weeknight curfews and closing down restaurants, but the measures have been far from effective as the daily movement of people is not decreased.

Hüsnü Yıldırım, co-president of Turkey’s Health and Social Service Laborers Union, said reports are coming from every city across Turkey about hospitals at capacity and coronavirus patients waiting for a bed. Yıldırım said a lockdown of at least 14 days is urgent but that a 28-day-long lockdown would be ideal because symptoms continue for 20 to 25 days in some patients.

He warned that if a 14-day lockdown were imposed but workers continue to work in factories, the pandemic would still not be sufficiently controlled.

According to Erdoğan Demir, secretary-general of the Revolutionary Healthcare Workers’ Union, the coronavirus pandemic is being managed in Turkey in violation of scientific principles.

“Some countries have declared a lockdown of 10, 14 or 21 days. We think a lockdown of at least 14 days is necessary for our country. With such a lockdown, the pandemic will not completely be eradicated, but some momentum will have been won in the fight against it,” Demir said.

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