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Saturday, 15 August 2020 00:00

KTLN Coronavirus update 15th August 2020

Kalkan and Coronavirus Kalkan and Coronavirus

Here is an update on the impact of Coronavirus in Turkey and more specifically in the Kalkan/Kaş area together with a general look at how the season is going.

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 14th August 2020.

Coronavirus cases

Coronavirus deaths

Source: Worldometers

As at 14th August there are 245,635 people recorded as having tested positive to Coronavirus in Turkey and 5,912 deaths are attributed to the virus.   That is an increase of 15,988 and 243 respectively in the first fourteen days of August.

With new cases now exceeding 1,200 a day in Turkey the authorities are reminding people to follow the coronavirus safety measures with a little more urgency. 

More effort is being put in to monitoring and enforcement in an attempt to aviod the reintroduction of more strict Coronavirus rules.  The Ministry of Health has signalled very clearly that unless people follow the existing rules there is a real possibility that firmer action will be taken, perhaps as soon as September.

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 12th August.

Mediterranean cases
Source: Turkish Ministry of Health

At the "Mediterranean" regional level the number of new cases is rising significantly.

At the beginning of June new cases were running at around 40 a day.  The most recent figures are above 100 new cases a day - that is two and a half times as many as early June.

If you look at the image above you can see that a surge in numbers came shortly after Kurban Bayram when many people were travelling and going on holiday.  Significant numbers of domestic tourists came to Kalkan and Kaş over that period.

Local data
Interestingly despite the recent post-Bayram surge, 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 official cases recorded in other parts of the wider Kaş district.

The HES map below shows the 'official' risk areas around Kalkan.  The square boxes represent locations where a positive test has been recorded.  Most of the ones close to Kalkan are classified as low risk. 

However it would be a mistake to conclude from the image below that Coronavirus has not reached Kalkan.

HES map

As we mentioned in our previous report, the way in which data is captured and reported on this particular app will not necessarily include all those who have the virus. 

We have made detailed local enquiries and based on our research 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.

Coronavirus safety in Kalkan
So we need to work on the assumption that the virus is around but who is sticking to the rules in Kalkan?

Kalkan

Attitudes towards Coronavirus safety rules in Kalkan are probably much the same as in many places across the world including back in the UK. 

Some people try and others don't.  That applies equally to residents and visitors.  In shops and restaurants the picture is mixed. 

Kalkan

Some shops are taking Coronavirus safety seriously - especially the larger shops including supermarkets.  Masks/visors are being worn by staff and Coronavirus signs are in place.  We did notice in some shops staff wearing masks under their chin or under their nose - both ineffective.

Below: How to wear a face mask.

Kalkan

We have seen some restaurants trying hard to stick to the rules, whilst others appear to struggle.  We have observed some restaurants where staff were wearing masks virtually all the time and other places where staff were 'wearing them' but not covering their mouth and nose. 

We don't underestimate how hard it is to keep a social distance and to wear masks, especially in such hot weather but the rules are there for a reason. 

We strongly believe that constructive feedback should be provided where businesses are failing in their responsibility to keep you safe.  Equally we think it important to show appreciation for staff who are following the guidelines.

Below: Images from a Kalkan restaurant providing hand sanitisers at the entrance and on your table.

Kalkan

Kalkan

Below: Jandarma and Zabita out on the streets today checking on Coronavirus rules.

Kalkan

Kalkan

Below: Down on the beach.  Good social distancing was evident.

Kalkan

Kalkan

Turkish schools had been expected to reopen on 31st August but children will now only be expected to start distance learning from this date. 

The actual date for returning to school in Turkey is now 21st September which will potentially extend domestic tourism by another three weeks.

Kalkan

Kalkan

Below: A quiet children's playground behind Kalkan beach.

Kalkan

Coronavirus - changing the face of tourism
It's been an interesting season so far.  Unlike any other we can remember.

Below: A quiet (closed) Merkez Cafe with a bewildered dog wondering where everyone has gone.

Kalkan

We believe that this year will reinforce a change in the visitor demographic that began a few years ago after the attempted coup (July 2016).

Since that time domestic tourism has been actively promoted by the Turkish government and Turkish people from the big cities have rediscovered Kalkan.

We say rediscovered because they first discovered it in the 1970s when Gürkan Bilgutay (father of Uluç Bilgutay of Korsan) and pop star Erkut Taçkın came from Istanbul and were amongst the first to promote Kalkan as a tourist destination.

Now that Kalkan has been 'rediscovered' we believe that not only will these city folk return in numbers but they will spread the word to their friends.  We are witnessing a significant change in the mix of tourism in Kalkan.

And these new Turkish holidaymakers are not just heading for the hills in the pursuit of privacy amongst the ever-expanding villages; they are staying in Kalkan town and loving it.

This has been fortuitous for those in the Kalkan accommodation business.  As foreign arrivals all but dried up and bookings were postponed to 2021 or cancelled, many of those vacancies were taken up by Turkish visitors in staycation mode.

So much so that foreign tourists who have been waiting to see how the pandemic develops before booking are finding it difficult now to find accommodation in Kalkan for the rest of the season.

Property owners and tour operators have been kept busy rescheduling bookings and trying to help people track down very limited vacancies.  Faced with too many cancellations and significant additional costs for mandatory Coronavirus safety measures some property owners have given up on 2020 and are sitting it out, which has added to the supply and demand imbalance.

The fact that Spain and France (amongst other countries) are now problematic destinations for UK holidaymakers should in theory bode well for Turkey.  But it's not as simple as that.  Accommodation is scarce, flight schedules are all over the place and Turkey needs to hope that their new Coronavirus cases do not rise too much, otherwise they too could go the same way as Spain and France.  There is no gloating here about Spain and France, just uncertainty.

For information new Coronavirus cases in the UK are currently running at around 1,400 a day; in Spain it's around 3,000 a day and in France about 2,800 a day.  Turkey is currently seeing 1,200 new cases a day and rising.

Spending time - spending money
Whilst domestic toursim may have come to the rescue of the accommodation sector in Kalkan the same can't necessarily be said of shops and restaurants in the old town.

According to the business owners we have spoken to Turkish visitors may spend time in Kalkan old town but British visitors tend to spend more money. 

Of course this is a generalisation and should be taken with a pinch of salt but there is no doubt that many businesses we spoke to are very much hoping to see lots more foreigners return to Kalkan in what remains of the season.  So are their bank managers.

Below: Süleyman Yılmaz Caddesi - popular with Turkish and British alike.

Kalkan

Statistics
The tourism statistics for July are not out yet but the international arrivals at Turkish airports are.

International arrivals in July at our local airports were as follows:

Antalya: July 2020 - 360,429  (July 2019 - 4,748,340)

Dalaman: July 2020 - 44,042 (July 2019 - 628,012)

Although the figures are an improvement on earlier months they are nowhere near last year's level.  Scheduled flights to Dalaman and Antalya are being ramped up so the potential for a late season recovery is there, subject to the absence of the much-discussed 'second spike'.

Source: General Directorate of State Airports Authority

Dalaman airport
One other point concerning airports.  In another KTLN article we advised that Coronavirus swab tests were available at Turkish airports for travellers heading to countries requiring a test, and you should arrive 8 hours before your flight departure to be sure of having enough time for your test results to come back.

We have recieved feedback that Dalaman airport require much more time - between 24 and 48 hours.  This is due to delays in test processing in Muğla, where the samples are sent for analysis.

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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#StaySafe

Katie-Ellen

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