The rate of COVID-19 infection in Turkey has soared, now the highest in Europe.
Turkey is one of the countries that had an effective response against COVID-19. It even received praise from the World Health Organization for its “early combative action.”
A year after, though, the country has now entered its first national lockdown. This comes after the third wave has caused an immense surge in new COVID-19 cases, with its infection rate the highest across Europe.
Turkey now in its first national lockdown
The lockdown started on Thursday at 7 p.m. TRT. Reports confirmed that it would last for three weeks, throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs released an official statement regarding the matter. As noted, the lockdown will conclude on May 17 at 5 a.m. TRT.
All citizens across the country will have to follow the new measures. These include staying at home except for medical-related trips and essential shopping needs. This means that there will be no schools, but this does not apply to all businesses.
There will also be capacity limits on public transport. As for travels between cities, these will require approval from officials.
Why the COVID-19 cases have soared
Turkey has had a declining trend of COVID-19 cases since November. Following the significant improvements, the government started to lift the restrictions across the country.
But, as soon as this happened, the third wave hit various regions, causing the infection rate to soar. Despite the reinstatement of the restrictions, this did not hinder the further spread of the virus.
Critics heavily factored in the early lifting of the restrictions to the apparent rise of the cases. But, aside from this, the vaccination process reportedly remains slow.
Experts consequently said that the new variants of COVID-19 have accelerated the infection rate. The most prevalent in the country right now is the “highly transmissive UK variant,” B.1.1.7.
CNN noted, though, that officials have also found the Indian variant in some cases in Istanbul. Nevertheless, the infected individuals have already been isolated for further observation.
Preparations ahead three-week lockdown
Hours before the start of the lockdown, citizens have gone through the main cities to fill their essential stocks up. While most people shopped for groceries and foods, others seemingly went for alcoholic beverages as the supply will be limited.
Turkey has since reported a total of 37,674 new cases of COVID-19. As for the number of deaths, the figure has reached over 330.