Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Erdogan accused of using ‘band-aid measures’ in fight against Turkey’s new surge

The number of new cases in Turkey is behind only the US, India and Brazil – all countries with much larger populations.

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Covid-19 deaths in Turkey rose to a record for the seventh day on Sunday, when over 29,000 new cases were reported.

That number comes behind only the US, India and Brazil – all countries with far larger populations than Turkey.

The number of new cases is staying high despite efforts by President Tayyip Erdogan’s government to contain the second wave of infections, reports Reuters.

The government introduced tighter measures a week ago, including nightly curfews at weekends, restrictions on movements of people of non-working age, a move to online schooling and limiting restaurants and cafes to takeaway services.

However, the moves have done little to halt the rise in infections and deaths, with Sunday’s toll of 185 dead more than the peak of the first wave in April.

Doctors and opposition politicians have called for stricter measures, but the government is anxious to avoid further economic pain.

Speaking after midday prayers on Friday, Erdogan blamed the resurgent pandemic on people flouting regulations.

“Masks and social distance are very important, and hygiene is very important. As long as these are not heeded, especially in big cities, the increasing continuation becomes inevitable,” he told reporters.

Opponents say the government is not being tough enough.

“The lives lost are our lives. But we see that the government is still trying to manage the situation with band-aid measures,” Meral Aksener, leader of the opposition IYI Party, said in Parliament last week. “I am calling out to Erdogan once again: impose a quarantine of at least 14 days.”

Turkey is expected to report this week that its economy bounced back from a coronavirus-induced slump earlier this year. But that recovery, key to Erdogan’s sustained political support, could be threatened by the new outbreak.

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