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Friday, 07 August 2020 00:00

KTLN Coronavirus update 7th August 2020

Coronavirus - Covid-19 Coronavirus - Covid-19

Since our last update on 1st August we have been speaking to local sources including health professionals, the local authorities and Jandarma to find out the latest situation.  This report includes data from official government sources including the Turkish Ministry of Health.

National data
The following charts show the daily new cases of Coronavirus (i.e. tested positive in a PCR test) and also the daily death rate up to 5th August 2020.

Coronavirus cases

Coronavirus deaths

Source: Worldometers

As at 5th August there are 236,112 people recorded as having tested positive to Coronavirus in Turkey and 5,784 deaths are attributed to the virus.   That is an increase of 7,188 and 125 respectively in one week.

Hopes of a change to the over 65s rules dashed
Last week the Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said his scientific advisors had suggested that additional restrictions for over 65s could be lifted.  He indicated that an announcement on this would be made after Kurban Bayram.  

Some people saw that as a promise but we cautioned against this assumption and said that we would have to wait and see.

Unfortunately the number of people testing positive is rising and given the scenes over Kurban Bayram of so many people ignoring the Coronavirus safety rules, especially in holiday destinations, it is no surprise that we have not had any announcement relaxing the rules.

In fact the Turkish government is so concerned about rising Coronavirus numbers and the blatant disregard for safety rules in some quarters that they are now stepping up checking and enforcement.  See later in this report.

Please note that the additional restrictions on the over 65s (curfew and travel permits) do not apply to foreign tourists.

Below: Not enough people have heeded this advice from the Turkish Minister of Health.

Coronavirus safety advice

Regional data
Looking at a regional level the government does not publish statistics for Antalya province.  

For reporting purposes we come under the “Mediterranean” region, which comprises no fewer than eight provinces.  They are Antalya; Burdur; Isparta; Mersin; Adana; Hatay; Osmaniye and Kahramanmaraş.

The following chart gives the number of new cases officially recorded in the Mediterranean region from 1st June to 5th August.

Mediterranean cases
Source: Turkish Ministry of Health

At the "Mediterranean" regional level the number of new cases appears to be rising. 

At the beginning of June new cases were running at around 40 a day.  The number recorded for 5th August spiked at ninety nine, having previously risen above the seventy mark.

Local data
Interestingly there are still no officially confirmed cases in Kalkan as shown on the Hayat Evi Sığar (HES) app.  As we reported before there have been a small number of cases in other parts of the wider Kaş district including Ağulla (near Kaş), Ova and Karadere.

However the way in which data is captured and reported on this particular app will not necessarily include all those who have the virus, notably asymptomatic cases.  From detailed enquiries we have made we would suggest it is sensible to assume that there are indeed asymptomatic Coronavirus cases in Kalkan and the wider Kaş district.  These people won't necessarily know they have the virus but are capable of spreading it.

We are aware that a small number of tourists (Turkish and foreigners) who have visited Kalkan have subsequently tested positive for Coronavirus after they have arrived home.  It is impossible to say exactly where and when they contracted the virus. 

It may or may not have been Kalkan.  But some people in Kalkan are being required to self-isolate where they are thought to have been in contact with tourists who subsequently tested positive for Coronavirus when they returned home.

Vectors of the virus
None of the above should come as a surprise to anybody.  Coronavirus knows no boundaries.  There isn't a place inhabited by humans that is off limits.  Even Timbuktu in the depths of the Sahara desert has Coronavirus.

When people move around the virus moves around.  Humans are vectors of the virus. 

In Turkey over the Kurban Bayram period in particular a lot of people moved around and it should therefore comes as no surprise to learn that the authorities are concerned at the uptick in Coronavirus cases and they are taking action.

More checking and enforcement
Local authorities in many towns and cities across Turkey have been prompted by the Ministry of Health to be more proactive. 

In Kalkan we are now seeing co-ordinated checks from Ministry of Health officials, Zabita and Jandarma.  

We spoke to those involved in Kalkan and were told that we can expect to see more checks over the coming days, and enforcement where necessary.  We suspect many people will welcome this.

Officials were out yesterday talking to business owners and the local taxi drivers.  There were checks made on vehicles coming in to town.

Below: Traffic Jandarma in Kalkan yesterday checking on numbers in cars and also doing random temperature checks.

Jandarma Coronavirus checks

Coronavirus speculation
There has been much online speculation about Kalkan's Coronavirus status, with people wondering when we might get confirmation of the first official positive test.

In our view all of these vexed conversations about if and when this happens are missing the point.  Surely whether we have zero cases, one case, two cases or half a dozen cases of Coronavirus we should be following the rules just as rigorously. 

It is illogical to say I'm not following the rules because there are no official cases.  And it would be equally illogical to over-react to one or two positive cases by saying I'm not coming to Kalkan.  Whether there are positive cases or not exactly the same Coronavirus safety rules need to be followed so that the risk can be effectively mitigated.

Below: Spontanious Kalkan street art work encouraging people to stay at home.  Local businesses may have a different view.

Kalkan sign

Sticking to the rules
We have seen lots of views expressed about whether people should come to Kalkan or not.

Our view on this is very clear.  If it is lawful for you to travel, i.e. the relevant governments have not prohibited it, you have every right to come to Kalkan if you so choose.

It's nobody's business what you do providing you are complying with the necessary laws and regulations.

And this works both ways.  You must do your bit but you should also expect the people of Kalkan to care about your safety. 

It is our belief that many of them do.  Let's hope that the increased checks by the authorities will focus the minds of those who may not be quite as careful as they should be.

Coronavirus safety

Provide feedback
If you are not happy with the way in which Covid-19 safety measures are being implemented in any Kalkan business you visit as a customer please provide feedback to the owner. 

Conversely if they are doing a good job please tell them that you appreciate the fact that they take the matter of your health and safety seriously.

Season outlook
As a result of the pandemic the tourist season here in Kalkan hangs in the balance.

The start of the season was flat and the only saving grace so far has been the arrival of significant numbers of domestic tourists from Turkey's big cities.

But there is no doubt that everyone involved in Kalkan's tourism industry is waiting for the number of foreigners - British visitors in particular, to pick up.

There are some promising signs.  Dalaman airport has told us that UK flight operators are ramping up their schedules to Turkey.  And we also now have the benefit of Turkish Airlines flying directly from the UK to Dalaman.  There are some good deals to be had if you're prepared to do some online searching.

And remember that Kalkan has an extremely loyal fan-base and many of them will go the extra mile to get here this year.

But as we have seen with Spain things can come off the rails pretty quickly.  The Turkish rug could be pulled out from underneath Turkey's international tourism industry in an instant if the Coronavirus statistics head too far in the wrong direction.

To say this is an unusual year is an understatement but many aspects of Kalkan life carry on as before, subject to some additional Coronavirus safety measures.  As things stand right now you can still come to Kalkan and enjoy your holiday.

Most Kalkan businesses are hanging on in there and are open as usual.  A small number have decided not to open this year.

If you're living in Kalkan or planning to visit please follow the government advice on personal hygiene, face masks and social distancing.

Covid-19 safety rules
Read our earlier article to remind yourself what the rules are.  We continue to update this guide as the rules change.

KTLN Guide: Covid-19 rules for people in Kalkan - what you need to know

UK FCO Advice for British citizens in Turkey
In addition to all of the web links shown above we advise keeping up to date with these fast moving events by regularly checking the UK FCO web site:  UK FCO - Advice for British Citizens in Turkey

We would invite KTLN readers to provide us with feedback on what they are seeing, how businesses are doing and what checks by the authorities they have observed.  Provide feedback to KTLN


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