Turkey welcomes Ramadan with tight measures against COVID-19

Turkey welcomes Ramadan with tight measures against COVID-19

The number of daily cases rarely drops nowadays in the country but authorities expect a string of measures, coupled with less mobility during the holy month of Ramadan, a fasting month for millions of Muslims in Turkey, may curb the coronavirus pandemic, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.

Ramadan, which will start Tuesday, will not be different from last year, when people shunned going out for elaborate iftar dinners to break their fast. A new set of regulations, issued by the Interior Ministry on Monday, targets any possible occasion for crowding, a serious risk for infections.

Gone are the mass street dinners where people traditionally come together, under new rules for 81 provinces. The Interior Ministry also instructed provincial governorates to ban bakeries from making pide, a flatbread, typically consumed during Ramadan, one hour before iftar time. Thus, authorities seek to ensure social distancing by preventing crowds outside bakeries, a common sight minutes before every iftar as the public rushes to grab a hot pide for dinner. Sales will be allowed until dinnertime, though.

The public will also be warned not to host sahur dinners, a pre-dawn meal before starting the fast at home, as the majority of cases in the country is either blamed on household get-togethers and/or new variants.

The country already has weekend curfews and nighttime curfews during weekdays in place. Saturday curfews were briefly lifted before the government implemented them again upon a rise in infections. Currently, citizens are allowed only to go out for shopping during a 56-hour lockdown that starts at 9 p.m. every Friday and ends at 5 a.m. Monday. For Ramadan, when restaurants brim with customers during iftar times, businesses have been ordered to only serve home delivery.

As a special measure for Ramadan, authorities also closed mosques to tarawih prayers, a collective prayer performed every evening throughout the month. The public is also cautioned not to perform the prayers in groups at home.

The governorates are also ordered to coordinate with local municipalities to take measures to prevent traffic jams, another common sight in Ramadan evenings, before iftar time. Also, the number of mass transit vehicles will be increased.

Overall, it will be a muted Ramadan for the faithful, with traditions changed or scaled back. Drummers, a staple of the month, are the only people spared from the impact of the pandemic. Similar to 2020, they will be back on the street to carry on the tradition of waking people up for sahur.

In Istanbul alone, the country’s most crowded city, 3,200 drummers will pace the streets every night. Selami Aykut, who heads an association of mukhtars (neighborhood headmen), told Anadolu Agency (AA) Monday that drummers would follow the coronavirus rules and would not come too close to people. Tipping of drummers, another tradition, will be scaled back. “People can hand tips from their window, instead of door-to-door visits by drummers,” he said.

The Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board is set to convene Monday evening. Their recommendations, if they issue any, will guide the government to impose new restrictions, when the Cabinet convenes later this week. Some experts call for a full lockdown to decrease the number of cases but others argue that it may cripple the economy that was already dealt a blow by the pandemic.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was recently quoted as saying that they plan to give the country “a rest” before Ramadan Bayram (Eid al-Fitr) that marks the end of Ramadan and an occasion with high mobility, with people traveling to vacation resorts or their hometowns.

Concerns remain high for a “third wave” in infections that currently fluctuate at around 50,000 daily. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told the Hürriyet newspaper last week that speeding up the vaccination drive would address the problem and they wanted to have all citizens above the age of 20 vaccinated by July. So far, more than 18 million doses have been administered and the number of people who received second doses has reached 7.6 million.

Yet, misconceptions toward vaccinations appear to prevail in the country. Some 25% of people who are eligible for inoculation have not received their jabs yet, according to media reports. Authorities say even those who were administered their doses carry misconceptions, particularly the false belief that the vaccination would protect them permanently and they are free to disregard rules such as mandatory masks and social distancing. Though no concrete figures are available, some infections stemmed from vaccinated people who ignored the rules.

Currently, people at the age of 60 and above are eligible for vaccination. People in older age groups were mostly vaccinated since the start of the drive in January. Professor Kemalettin Aydın, an infectious diseases expert at the Health Sciences University in the capital Ankara, told Demirören News Agency (DHA) Monday that seeing only 75% of eligible people having their jabs was “worrying.” “The state mobilized all its resources and people who cannot go to hospitals and clinics due to their old age are vaccinated at their homes. Still, vaccine aversion is a problem,” he said.

Aydın said Turkey still ranked sixth in the world in terms of vaccination rates, “This is a great advantage but we need to sustain it.” Aydın indicated the rate of positive tests nationwide was 15%, except for minor deviations from that figure in some provinces. He said the age of hospitalized patients also decreased and most of the patients were now those between the ages of 50 and 60.

“Mass vaccination paid off. Even if they are infected, vaccinated people recover from the infection with less severe symptoms,” he said.

Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Iraq commits to return Iran's debts
Iraq commits to return Iran's debts
Iran expects sanctions to be lifted soon - President Rouhani
Iran expects sanctions to be lifted soon - President Rouhani
Loading Bars
Azerbaijani president pays constant attention to work in liberated lands - administration (PHOTO)
Germany's exports up 2.6 pct in april
Brazil's COVID-19 cases surpass 15 million
Turkmenistan offers business opportunities for Swiss private sector in number of areas
Progress has been made in lifting JCPOA related sanctions - Head of Iranian President's office
Turkey, Brazil and US remain main exporters of poultry meat to Georgia
Turkey's central bank leaves key policy rate unchanged at 19%
Tajikistan official confirms the death of 19 citizens in the recent border clashes
GM posts strong performance in Q1
Bundestag approves easing of COVID-19 rules for immunized people
Diamond demand in China directly benefits Botswana: De Beers
U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to 498,000, marking new low during pandemic
WHO says COVID-19 vaccine supply hitches could reignite upticks in Africa
Food prices continue to climb in April - FAO
Turkey reports over 22 388 COVID-19 cases
At least 23 killed in Rio de Janeiro favela gun battle
Kyrgyzstan is interested in establishing joint Kyrgyz-Korean enterprises
Turkey's 1Q2021 revenues from car export to int'l market grow
We reject, don't recognize decision of Latvian gov't on so-called "Armenian genocide" - Turkish Defense Ministry
Georgia launches campaign to popularize state agricultural insurance program
New “Azerbaijan” Ro-Pax ship built in country’s shipyard to make its first voyage from Port of Baku (PHOTO/VİDEO)
Former Maldives president hurt in blast outside home
Turkey’s inactive COVID-19 vaccine makes it to WHO list
Saudi Arabia showing interest in importing Azerbaijan's AzGranata products
Araghchi arrives in Vienna to attend 4th round of JCPOA talks
Kazakhstan - Greece trade down y-o-y
Georgian banks see profit in 1Q2021
Azerbaijan’s Azerishig company opens tender to buy various combined, storage accessories
Uzbek TPP to use German equipment for energy production
Azerbaijani national team holds podium training for upcoming Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Baku (VIDEO)
International Bank of Azerbaijan opens tender to buy Cisco network switches
Kazakhstan, Russia lift mutual restrictions on import, transit of livestock products
World auto concerns’ production volume to decrease during 6M2021
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office welcomes release of Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan
Greece decreases petroleum oil exports from Kazakhstan
Sputnik Light vaccine can be used for people aged 18-60
Moderna booster increases antibodies against COVID-19 variants, early data shows
Azerbaijan names amount of subsidies paid out for cropping
Yerevan ready to exert all efforts to fulfill trilateral agreements on Karabakh - acting PM of Armenia
Lebanon could gradually go dark as cash for electricity runs out
New greenhouse to be built in Turkmenistan’s Mary region
Several digitalization projects implemented in Kazakh oil & gas sector
Kazakhstan's president decides to provide humanitarian aid to Kyrgyzstan
Real estate purchases soar in Kazakhstan
Saudi Arabia eyes importing finished meat products from Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's non-oil exports show positive trend despite impact of COVID-19 - minister
Kazakh Kazgeology eyes working on promising areas of natural resources
Main part of Iran's trade carried out by sea - analyst
Israel and Korea to sign free trade agreement next week
EU continues to support Georgia SMEs
Azerbaijan launches system for predicting impact of tax benefits on state revenues
Azerbaijan's AzFina, CBA developing bill on regulation of payment systems
Georgia's minister claims inflation in country to decrease in coming months
Kazakhstan reports increase in oil, natural gas prices
Azerbaijan may change procedure for navigation on inland waters for fishing vessels
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 6
Construction of Ahmadbayli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway in Azerbaijan continues (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan confirms 844 more COVID-19 cases, 2,057 recoveries
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy power cables via tender
Kazakh-Georgian Economic Union to focus on int'l trade and dev't of transport services - Honorary Consul
First section of Georgian Rikoti Highway to open soon
Kazakh IT company involved in creation of "smart" settlements in Azerbaijan
Japanese TEPSCO to join creating green energy zone in Azerbaijan's liberated territories
Azerbaijan's Mine Action Agency eyes to purchase new mine clearance equipment
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for construction of security facility for gas treatment
Turkmen Ministry of Construction extends tender for design of buildings
Georgia to host annual meeting of ADB board of governors
Spain tourist arrivals slump 76% in March, recovery still far off
Azerbaijan's construction sector output to grow till 2026 - expert
Trade ministry discloses volume of cereals imported by Austria from Turkey
Share of mining sector in Baku's industrial production disclosed
Amazing opportunities created for athletes in Baku’s National Gymnastics Arena - Ukrainian Gymnastics Federation
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemicals
Kazakhstan's National Bank unveils preliminary balance of payments data
Statistics on trade turnover between Spain, Turkmenistan revealed
Uzbekistan receives permission to export pomegranates to China
Moderna raises 2021 sales forecast for COVID-19 vaccine to $19.2 billion
Not calling released soldiers as "POWs" by OSCE Minsk Group - outrageous - Armenian media
Tesla developing platform to allow car owners in China data access
Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds in Iran
Over 10 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Saudi Arabia
Russia reports over 7,600 COVID-19 cases in the past day
Revanchist statements in Armenia mustn't be taken seriously - Azerbaijani Security Council
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan fluctuate
No reason to worry about fulfillment of trilateral statement - Azerbaijan's Security Council
Nominations for gas flows at TAP’s interconnections
Azerbaijan to build road to legendary "Isa Spring" in Shusha city
EU countries agree to open up to Israeli tourists
Turkmenistan names data on deposits in credit institutions
Iran unveils volume of transit through Gilan Province
Largest share of Uzbek textile production falls on Fergana region
Turkey boosts export of cars to Kazakhstan
Turkey publishes data on 4M2021 steel exports
Iran's Amir-Kabir Petrochemical Company beats sets new production record
Turkey's 4M2021 exports of locally-made furniture up in value
Turkey reveals 4M2021 data on export of grains, legumes to Azerbaijan
Exports through Iran's Astara border checkpoint increase
Uzbekistan to launch several TPPs in 2021
Uzbek agency reveals data on most profitable companies
ADB approves loan for construction of Georgia’s Olympic swimming pool
All news