Turkey will likely be in lockdown by the end of next month as COVID-19 infections rise and the official data is unreliable, according to a professor of public health we can reveal.
“The political authorities do not share the facts with the public. This situation creates a crisis of trust. It is likely that by the end of September, we will be obliged to lockdown – which we had avoided and postponed – for 14 days,” Ahmet Saltık, professor of Public Health at Ankara University, said.
The authorities do not want to halt the economy. So the epidemic doesn’t halt either,” he said.
Saltık said there was an insufficient number of tests being carried out in Turkey, and that the number of cases announced by governors in many Turkish provinces far exceeded the official numbers.
“[COVID-19] has reached terrible dimensions. It is necessary to multiply the number of cases and deaths [in Turkey] by at least two to three times,” he said.
He did not say how he arrived at that figure, and added: “We cannot obtain the data about the epidemic in a democratic transparency. This situation obstructs the fight against the epidemic.”
Turkey confirmed 1,178 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily tally since July 3 when 1,172 cases were recorded, after it had hovered below 1,000 a day for more than three weeks.
Curfews will be declared in districts and neighbourhoods where there is high mobility and lack of social distancing, such as in parts of Istanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakır, Konya, Malatya, Şanlıurfa, Mardin, and Batman, Hürriyet said.
Travel between districts under lockdown will be closed except for essential needs and exceptional cases. Curfews on weekends may also be re-introduced in high risk provinces.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry told the country’s provincial governors to increase the inspections, and take additional preventative measures in streets, public transportation, areas, beaches, promenades, picnic areas, and sports and leisure areas.
Stricter punishments are set to be introduced for those who fail to comply with measures, including prison sentences of between two months to one year in serious cases,