Turkey may need to revise strategy to fight outbreak, says expert

Turkey may need to revise strategy to fight outbreak, says expert

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In the face of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, Turkey may need to revise its current strategy into a more comprehensive approach to fight the outbreak in a more effective way, a leading expert on the pandemic has told daily Hürriyet.

“The fight against the virus is currently based on day-to-day decisions. We need to change this. We already have a preparedness plan, but it should be revised and turned into an action plan. Which measures need to be taken when cases reach certain numbers, how long those measures will be implemented and when those measures will be rolled back?… All these questions should be addressed under a plan,” Professor Mehmet Ceyhan from Hacettepe University Medical School said.

Ceyhan recently warned that the outbreak might have spun out of control in Turkey, pointing out the fact that the number of new virus cases has been hovering above the number of recoveries over the past 10 days.

The government has announced new curbs, such as restrictions on wedding ceremonies and other social events.

The Health Ministry is said to be working on a plan which will introduce rotating shifts for public servants.

Ceyhan supported the idea of rotating shifts in the public sector as it would help reduce crowding in public transport and lower virus-related risks.

However, according to Ceyhan, the measures currently in place may not be enough as the priority is to take the outbreak under control once again.

“The virus has spread to every corner of the country. Taking province-specific measures based on the number of tests and cases may not be enough anymore. Measures to be taken should be nationwide. I do not propose bans. When you ban an event, people organize their events secretly and in more dangerous environments,” he said.

As for the reopening of schools, Ceyhan noted that the in-class education has been postponed to Sept. 21 and said that the postponement should be based on targets.

“For instance, the target could be: Schools resume education when the number of confirmed virus cases drop below 1 percent of the tests conducted or the number of daily infections decline to 500,” he said.

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