The Turkish tourist season opens amid the concerns of the “Delta”

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Turkey observed its curfew last weekend on Sunday in accordance with the government’s decision to ease restrictions following a decrease in the number of new cases of coronavirus and a drastic intensification of the vaccination process.

Yesterday, around more than 32 million people received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, while 15 million Turks were fully vaccinated. The vaccination eligibility age was lowered to 18 last week in an effort to further speed up the vaccination campaign with the aim of protecting at least 70 percent of society until the end of the campaign. summer. Meanwhile, Turkey records around 5,000 new coronavirus cases and 50 deaths every day.

This positive trend has led many countries to lift or relax their travel restrictions to Turkey. Russia lifted restrictions on June 22 and paved the way for thousands of Russian tourists to flock to Turkish resorts. France has moved Turkey from red to amber on its travel list, meaning people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can now enter France for no essential reason.

Germany has already announced that Turkey is a normal risk country, giving hope for the return of German tourists this summer. However, the UK is still keeping Turkey on the red list due to its lingering concerns about the spread of the Delta variant. Turkey hopes that the British government will reassess the situation in the coming weeks.

It is essential that Turkey receives more tourists this summer in order to recoup the tourist losses. Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has predicted that around 25 million tourists will bring in around $ 20 billion this summer, with Russia being the country that sends the most tourists, followed by Germany in second place and Ukraine in third.

From a public health perspective, however, this picture is cause for concern. Russia and Germany are among the 10 countries most affected by the Delta variant, which has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. Russia registers around 20,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, a good majority of which are infected with the Delta variant.

Germany has announced that the number of COVID-19 infections caused by the Delta variant has doubled in one week in the country. The United States and the United Kingdom are the most affected by this variant, while France, Portugal, Israel, Italy, Ireland and Denmark are also on the list. The Delta variant was first spotted in India and spread around the world from there. Turkey and many other countries impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travelers from India.

However, those arriving from Russia or other countries where the Delta variant has made matters worse are not subject to quarantine. A certificate with a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 72 hours (RT-PCR) or no more than 48 hours (antigen) before entering Turkey is required for passengers from Russia as well as many others country. Additionally, those who can present a government standard COVID-19 vaccination certificate performed at least 14 days prior to arrival in Turkey are not required to have a negative PCR test.

Public health experts are calling for an increased package of measures against those arriving from countries at risk in order not to spoil Turkey’s ongoing normalization process. “The tourist season slightly increases this risk. While many countries set entry and exit limits, we try to make them easier. We need tourists, but on the other hand, there is the problem of the Delta variant, ”infectious disease doctor Prof Mehmet Ceyhan said as quoted by Demirören news agency last week.

Speaking to the Milliyet daily this weekend, Professor Mustafa Çetiner stressed that it is not enough to get the PCR test result before entering Turkey for those coming from Russia. very high are hitting countries like the UK which says it has done very well in this fight, ”against the pandemic, Çetiner said, adding that it would not be surprising to see a rapid spread of the Delta variant by Russian tourists if they were allowed country without effective measures.

Serkan DemirtaÅŸ,


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