Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Friday issued new instructions to governorates across the country to ensure better tracking of COVID-19 patients who were ordered to isolate in their homes and introduced fines for those who break self-quarantines.
According to the ministry’s circular, each province will form several “Neighborhood Inspection Teams,” that will include members of public personnel, security officers, teachers and other government officials.
The teams will ensure any patients placed into self-isolation by the Health Ministry follow orders.
Patients will face fines and up to a year in prison if they break their self-isolation, according to the ministry.
In a bid to relieve hospitals of the burden of coronavirus cases and to allow patients with other conditions to visit their doctors, Turkey switched to a home care model for COVID-19 patients who show mild or no symptoms. Patients are regularly checked up on and administered treatment at home.
Yet, media outlets have reported several instances of people violating self-isolation.
Turkey first launched a major effort to track compliance with self-isolation orders by introducing the Pandemic Isolation Tracking project during the height of the coronavirus outbreak in April.
Developed in cooperation with Turkish mobile operators, the project tracks patients placed in self-isolation using their mobile phones and automatically warns them if they are detected to be outside of their home.
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