Fight Against Covid-19 In Turkey
The Republic of Turkey is one of the most disciplined and successful countries in fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic. In the last 15 years, Turkey’s health system has undergone a major restructuring process. Thanks to abilities that can respond to such a pandemic and crises. The new hospital capacities have been built and most modern hospitals. Only in 2020, 11 new hospitals with a total of 14 thousand beds and equipped with the latest technology will come into service.
At the same time, Turkey has made large investments in health information technology in this process. Turkey has become the country using the health information systems, “big data” and “artificial intelligence” in the decision-making processes in the best way.
Turkey is one of the countries taking the measures related to the pandemic at the earliest time upon the declaration of the start of the pandemic originating from China and the appearance of this disease in others in Turkey.
They determined the road map against Covid-19 exactly 31 days before the World Health Organization declared the disease as a pandemic and 50 days before the disease was seen in their country (11th March). They prepared their health institutions and citizens against the possibility of a pandemic.
TEST CAPACITY AND NUMBERS
In Turkey, a PCR test is applied to those who show symptoms and apply to health institutions, as well as to citizens that are found to show symptoms during controls and, in the framework of filiation activities, to people who have been in close contact with the aforementioned individuals.
Turkey has so far performed more than 1 million 250 thousand tests. The daily test capacity is 50 thousand.
If needed, human resources and infrastructure are available to increase the daily testing capacity.
HEALTH SYSTEM AND EQUIPMENT CAPACITY
Turkey has a strong health care system capacity and infrastructure. The fight against Covid-19 has not created a strain on Turkey’s health system capacity.
Turkey is very well prepared in terms of the intensive care bed and mechanic ventilation number used within the context of the fight against COVID-19. The Turkish health system has 39,934 intensive care beds and 17,852 mechanic ventilators. Even though the peak point has been passed in the pandemic; only 6% of the intensive care bed occupancy rate and only 5% of the ventilator occupancy rate have been reached in the scope of Covid-19. In other words, Covid-19 has not put pressure on Turkey’s health system.
The Republic of Turkey is one of the most disciplined and successful countries fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The tracing period starts at an early stage.
- National Pandemic Plan (updated in 2019)
- Border security
- Travel restrictions
- Establishment of the «Emergency Operation Center» (06 January 2020)
- Establishment of the «Coronavirus Scientific Board»(10 January 2020)
- Identification of reference hospitals and personnel training. All flights to China were suspended (30 January)
- Borders with Iran were closed (23 February)
After the first case on 11 March 2020, additional measures were taken
- Closure of schools across the country
- Banning of mass-gathering events
- Restrictive measures for public officials (flexible working arrangements)
- Additional travel restrictions
- Curfews and lockdowns
Testing & Contact Tracing
- A comprehensive strategy to increase testing capacity in contact tracing
- Performing tests on the right people at the right time
- Implementing a strict contact tracing program
- Turkey has created a successful system that reached 99,7% of the contacts within the required time
Turkey’s Healthcare Infrastructure
- 000 doctors in 1.524 world-class hospitals operating in the country
- 563 dedicated pandemic hospitals
- 715 registered beds, 178.450 registered beds in the pandemic hospitals
- 832 ventilators in the hospitals
- The average number of tests performed daily is over 40.000
- Daily PCR test capacity of Turkey is 50.000
Preventive Measures for the Guests
- Passengers and other people arriving at airports will be rendered services under the rules and guidelines set out for prevention and containment of COVID-19.
- In the airports, before passport control, each arriving passenger will go through thermal screening for temperature checks.
- In the case where a passenger is suspected to have COVID-19, the passenger will be put under quarantine in an isolated area inside the airport to be tested.
- If there are no negative symptoms detected with regards to COVID-19, the passenger will leave the airport following specified rules.
- If the passenger whose sample is taken for the PCR test displays serious symptoms, he/she will be taken into an isolation room for 2 hours to wait for the PCR test results. If the result is positive, the passenger will be sent to a hospital to be treated.
- After passenger getting transferred to the hospital, he/she decides whether to be treated in a hospital or hotel.
- If the isolation period lasts longer than the planned holiday, the extra accommodation costs will be covered by the hotel in exchange for a Promise Letter.
- If the passenger does not wish to spend the isolation period in Turkey and wishes to return to his/her country, it is an airline’s or captain’s discretion to allow that passenger on board.
- Passengers may buy health insurance packages before arriving at Turkey, online.
- If the passenger becomes symptomatic after arriving at the hotel, he/she will be taken to the hospital.
- If the passenger who had been taken to the hospital tests positive, the same procedures implemented at the airport will be followed.
- If the passenger’s country requires a certain quarantine period for its citizens upon their return, the passenger may get tested at 135 testing areas across the country or designated testing areas located inside the airport before passport control and fly back to his/her country with the test result. The test costs 15 €.
- In order for the guest to be treated in Turkey, he/she has to accept the treatment methodology and drug protocol applied in Turkey
Letter of Promise
Some hotels in Turkey are agreed with a ‘Letter of Promise’ to ensure the guests with COVID-19 diagnose to continue to stay in the hotel’s quarantine floor with their families without any accommodation cost during their isolation period.
As of July 1, Turkey is commissioning a health insurance package covering COVID-19. The guarantee is valid in all pandemic hospitals without private/public distinction. Insurance packages can be purchased in the following ways:
- With tickets of contracted airlines
- Inside the airport at points of sale before passport control
- Online covidinsurance4turkey.com–www.tga.gov.tr
- From tour operators
Safe Tourism Certification Criteria
Safe Tourism Certification Program, under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, has been developed with the contributions of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in cooperation with all the stakeholders in the industry.
The Normalization of Tourism
Safe Tourism Certification Program consists of 4 main pillars:
- Health and Safety of Passenger
- Health and Safety of Employee
- Measures at the Facilities
- Measures in Transportation Vehicles
The facilities, obtaining the certificate, were announced as of June 1, 2020 through all channels including the Ministry & TGA websites. Currently, almost 2000 facilities have applied and around 500 of them have received certificates.
For the facilities that obtained safe tourism certificate, there will be QR codes on all logos and through these QR codes, all guests and customers will have access to facility’s inspection data.
Wherever you go, make sure to see this Certificate of Safe Tourism issued by the government to ensure the safety of every places you go. Safe Tourism comprises of:
- Intensive sanitation Social Distancing Measure (Criteria for Accommodation)
- Precautions are taken at Food & Beverage Facilities (Criteria for F&B Facilities)
- Tour & Transfer Vehicles Criterias (Certified Tour & Transfer Vehicles)
All of them have to meet the right criteria in order to operate post-COVID period. All the supplier has to fill the form and make sure the standards are all there, with the assessment criteria that is updated by the government from time to time.