Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People's Party (CHP) on Thursday submitted a bill to elevate the status of the nation’s health care workers who have been on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the bill submitted by the CHP, health care workers who lose their lives would be considered martyrs who lost their lives during a pandemic, which would carry legal benefits for the health care workers' families such as a monthly payment after their passing.
The bill would be retroactive to March 11, when the first COVID-19 case was officially confirmed in Turkey.
Last month, Parliament passed a ruling party-sponsored law to strengthen health care workers' protection against violence.
Under the law, penalties for threatening, insulting, injuring or hindering health care workers from doing their duties increased 50%.
Turkey's "health care army" includes nearly half a million medical staffers and 360,000 support personnel fighting the coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said early in the pandemic.
Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 187 countries and regions, with the U.S. and Europe the hardest-hit areas.