Turkey, which is already dealing with domestic violence and cash crunch saw the fastest rate of coronavirus infections in the world. The Eurasian country where the daily cases are rising by more than 3,000 per day has reported 34,109 cases in the past four weeks. As of now, Turkey has reported 725 deaths from the infection.
Turkey, unlike other infected countries, has still not imposed a lockdown. Despite warnings from Doctor’s union and opposition party leaders, President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has yet not ordered people to stop going to work insisting that 'wheel of the economy must go on.'
This comes as reported facilities in the country remain far lower than other badly hit nations at 649. However, the government has reportedly increased measures to combat viral pandemic. The new, stricter measures include suspension of international flights and border crossings, ban on intercity travel, public gatherings and communal prayers. The nation as also shut down schools and restaurants. A curfew has been imposed on people below 20 years of age and those above 65 years.
Meanwhile, military troops fighting against Russians in Syria have also been limited in order to battle the pandemic. In a rare decision, the country's leader recently made facemasks free. Erdogan, speaking to reporters on April 6 said that sale of facemasks was banned adding that they would be distributed free of cost. The authorities have also made the use of masks mandatory for people travelling in public transports and in public spaces.
The president has also promised two field hospitals in Istanbul, the city which accounts for nearly 60 per cent of total cases in the country. Both the hospitals, with 1000 beds each would be operation in 45 days, international media reported. Not only the health crisis, but the pandemic has also inflamed Turkey's already existing economic and political crisis. According to policymakers and experts, the country which is still recovering from 2018's cash crunch might go into coronavirus induced recession.
Meanwhile, a bill due to be passed by parliament later this week proposes the release of up to one-third of the total prisoners in the country. However, the list excludes human rights activists, journalists and opposition politicians. The draft earlier included sex offenders and those convicted of gender-based violence but they were dropped from the after opposition fro women’s right group. Turkey has also strict policies when it comes to media. A report by NGO, Reporters without Borders revealed that nearly seven journalists have been charged for 'spreading pandemic' and have been arrested for on-ground reporting. In addition to that, at least 385 people are presently being investigated for their social media posts.