Masks are gradually being removed from people's faces after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the end of mandatory mask wearing in Turkey due to a decrease in COVID-19 pandemic cases. Masks will be necessary to be worn in hospitals and public transportation for the time being. In the interim, they're more likely to be found in pockets and handbags, as well as on the faces of persons in high-risk groups.
2020 saw first cases of COVID-19
Turkey took anti-coronavirus measures barely a few months after the first instances of the coronavirus were identified in the country in 2020. This was the "new normal," as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put it at the time.
When coronavirus cases began to rise, authorities were forced to implement more stringent measures, including lockdowns. This new "normal," which included the lifting of the travel ban and the opening of restaurants and cafes, was replaced by another new "normal." The country has now moved on to the most recent stage of the pandemic, and the final remaining regulation of wearing masks indoors has been abolished.
Impact on schools and education
Students, regardless of age, were required to wear masks when schools reopened for in-person education last year following a sabbatical. Some students appeared to be uninformed of the new change and showed up to school wearing masks, while others rejoiced at the practice's demise.
National Education Minister, Mahmut Ozer, told reporters that the pandemic had damaged the education system, affecting "18 million pupils and 1.2 million teachers," but that despite keeping schools open, they had overcome the odds. Teachers who sacrificed their comfort by wearing masks in class and setting an example for society with the "highest immunisation rate" among other professions were praised by Ozer.
Ending mask wearing
Personal protective measures rather than a government obligation will be in place from now on. An expert said: "If people are experiencing symptoms, they should continue to wear masks and isolate themselves."
Once the number of daily cases falls below 1,000, masks will no longer be required everywhere. Recently, there were 2,511 cases, and experts predict that if the current pattern continues, decreasing trends would speed much more by the beginning of the summer.
Tough times are over
Fahrettin Koca, the Minister of Health, reiterated the good sentiment. Koca stated that they were "glad to put challenging days behind" in his first words to reporters following the decision. According to the minister, Turkey's 1.3 million health-care personnel, as well as the whole nation have made significant sacrifices by adhering to the pandemic's limits.
Vaccines and medications are two crucial weapons in the fight against the pandemic, according to Koca. He said: "The disease is no longer a serious threat as long as we have them. With personal protective measures and immunisations, we want to prolong our lives."
Pandemic far less severe
According to the minister, the pandemic is not as deadly as it was previously, and the 14 persons who died on Tuesday were either chronically ill or elderly. He pointed out that the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units was extremely low, citing Aydin as an example, where none of the present COVID-19 patients require intensive care.
Wearing protective masks should be "a habit" for those with upper respiratory tract infections, according to Koca, who noted that influenza instances "disappeared" in the early years of the pandemic when people wore masks.
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