Turkish public health officials are pressing for a national lock-down while decision-makers at the helm of the economy fear the measure’s possible impact on the country’s already ailing economy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tends to favor the latter, at least for now, well-informed sources told Al-Monitor.
Turkey’s steep upward curve in new COVID-19 infections is leading many to ask whether Turkey will be the next Italy, where the death toll is more than 7,500 as of March 27. Many experts urge the government to order a full or regional lockdown as projections based on current statistics depict a grim prospect for the public health, economy and security. The death toll in Turkey can reach 250 people in 10 days and 99,000 over the course of the pandemic, if the current mortality rate remains the same, at 2.5%. The same projection suggests more than 4 million people in Turkey could be hospitalized.
The number of cases has rapidly increased after Turkey reported its first case March 11. The death toll has climbed to 59 in less than three weeks. More than 2,500 patients tested positive and some 8,000 patients are being monitored at hospitals, Erdogan announced March 25, a week after Turkey crossed the critical 100-patient mark.
Sources told Al-Monitor that Turkish policymakers are at odds over how to turn the tide, with some advocating a lockdown and others opposing such a measure.