Turkey is returning to normal. Restaurants and cafes are open, air traffic is starting up again with international flights commencing on June 18 and public transportation is operating as usual.
It is a must to continue social distancing, wear a mask at all times and maintain good hygiene.
The results give hope. The daily infection numbers have dropped below 1,000; on average 800 new infections are reported per day and the daily death toll is around 20. Of course, it is very sad to lose lives, and every single life is very precious, but Turkey is doing quite well in decreasing its COVID-19 numbers.
It is definite that the coronavirus pandemic will be recorded as a black page in human history, but on that page, it will be shown that Turkey maintained a strong health infrastructure. The country's methodology was also right. Lockdowns on weekends and holidays while keeping weekdays open was an effective strategy to slow down the infection rate while not completely shutting down the economy.
This strategy yielded positive results. The production chain never stopped, and now European countries are turning to alternatives closer to their borders and the demand for Turkish products is on the rise. Prominent businessman and head of Fiba Holding Murat Özyeğin pointed to this phenomenon this week. He added that "the pandemic showed the dependence on one country, China, within the global supply chain, poses severe risks."
Actually, Turkey’s method should be examined carefully. That is what the international media is focused on these days. The first case came very late but the outbreak spread very quickly.
There were fears that we could have been a second Italy, but Turkey proved to be as good as Germany or South Korea even without imposing a total lockdown. Dr. Jeremy Rossman, a lecturer in virology at the University of Kent who spoke to BBC, said that "Turkey fits in the category of several countries that responded fairly quickly with testing, tracing, isolation and movement restrictions."
I think that part of this success came with the filiation system, in which the Health Ministry tracked every single patient and his or her contacts with great care. Thousands of people worked in the filiation system. People who were quarantined in their homes were tracked daily, and those above age 65 and under age 20 were kept under lockdown. These populations were controlled via GSM operators so that Turkey was successful in isolating the infected and at-risk groups and allowing the rest to carry on their semi-normal routine.
Of course, the battle has not been won yet. But Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Wednesday that he is not expecting a second wave.
Now begins the period in which we start healing our wounds. The economy has been affected, there are many small scale business owners who are in danger and the tourism industry is hurting. Hotels are opening with new rules, and Turkey is a safe haven, but obviously 2020 won't be the best year for tourism.
The hardest period is over, but now it is time to cooperate for the healing period.