Ankara has gambled away confidence in the corona measures. According to doctors, the number of new infections is significantly higher than stated.
ISTANBUL taz | “We need a complete lockdown for 14 days,” said the Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over the weekend. That was after he met the new president of the Turkish Medical Association, Şebnem Korur Fincancı.
Like other experts, Fincancı is sounding the alarm. According to the medical association, there are currently around 50,000 new corona infections per day in Turkey. That would be the highest value in all of Europe at the moment. “We cannot go on like this,” Kılıçdaroğlu is convinced, “we have to react more strongly.”
A week ago, after long hesitation, the government decided to implement a partial lockdown. Since then, all schools, universities, restaurants, cafes and sports studios in Turkey have been closed again. People over 65 must stay at home and young people under 18 are only allowed to leave the house between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
But the measures are showing little effect. The numbers keep increasing. When the sun shone again on the weekend in Istanbul after a few rainy days, the promenade on the Marmara Sea was full. Most of them didn’t keep their distance; many dangled their masks from their chins.
For almost two months, from late September to late November, the government had left people in the dark about the number of new infections. She only announced how many people were “seriously ill” with the virus every day. That commuted between 2,000 and 3,000 people and seemed very low compared to other European countries. The death rate also remained low at officially around 100 per day.
The pressure rose
But when the number of “sick people” suddenly skyrocketed to 6,000 and more a day and several mayors of cities ruled by the opposition reported that the official numbers had to be multiplied by at least ten to arrive at a realistic number of new infections, the government put pressure on experts and according to the WHO. Now it reports the registered new infections per day again.
“We can’t go on like this, we have to react”
According to official information, these have risen to almost 30,000 per day in the last few days. But trust in the information is wasted. Hardly anyone still believes what Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced. The medical association assumes around 20,000 more new infections every day. The same goes for the deaths from Covid-19. The government reported 180 for last Sunday, while Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that there are more than 160 deaths a day in Istanbul alone.
Even if the metropolises such as Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Bursa are hardest hit, the second corona wave is sweeping across the country. In contrast to spring, almost every village, as well as the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, which the federal government had classified as a non-risk area until November 9th, are affected. The actual deaths across the country are likely to be correspondingly high.
Wedding celebrations go on
Despite new hospital buildings, the public health system is reaching its limits. In Istanbul, the intensive care beds are largely occupied. Despite this, many people do not yet take the danger seriously because of the government belittling it. Large wedding celebrations are still taking place.
This is another reason why the opposition is calling for a total lockdown. “Otherwise Istanbul is facing disaster,” says İmamoğlu. The government is trying to calm down: The first delivery of a vaccine from China is already on the way.