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Saturday, 19 September 2020 00:00

KTLN Coronavirus update 19th September 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 18th September 2020.

Coronavirus cases

Coronavirus deaths

Source: Worldometers

As at 18th September there are 299,810 people recorded as having tested positive to Coronavirus in Turkey and 7,377 deaths are attributed to the virus.  There are now over 1,700 new cases recorded per day and over 60 people are losing their lives to Coronavirus every day across Turkey.  The above charts show that the numbers are increasing.

As serious as the situation is in Turkey it should be remembered that many other countries are now showing similar, if not worse increases.

Coronavirus cases

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 16th September.

Mediterranean cases
Source: Turkish Ministry of Health

At the "Mediterranean" regional level the number of new cases continues to rise significantly.

At the beginning of June new cases were running at around 40 a day.  The most recent figures are above 150 new cases a day - that is almost four times as much 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 and have continued to do so.  With children now back in education the number of domestic tourists is expected to reduce.

Local data
There are now many confirmed Coronavirus cases in Kalkan as shown on the Hayat Evi Sığar (HES) app.  It's a similar picture in Kaş town and in other hot spots across the whole district of Kaş.

According to HES Kalkan remains a low risk area.

A small number of businesses in Kalkan have closed their doors and quarantined following staff members testing positive for the virus.

In earlier reports we have included images taken from maps in the HES app showing locations where Coronavirus has been confirmed but in this report we are not doing so. 

In some ways the HES map is useful but the main message has got to be that the virus is here in Kalkan and it's better to work on the basis that we all need to follow the Coronavirus safety rules and take precautions in every part of town (and beyond), not just in specific hot spots shown on a map.

Remember that some people who have the virus will be asymptomatic.  They won't necessarily know they have the virus but they are capable of spreading it.

Coronavirus safety in Kalkan
It is important for your own safety and the safety of others that official government guidance is followed.

It may be difficult, disruptive and uncomfortable but Coronavirus safety requirements are mandatory.  It's the law.  It's there to prevent serious illness and death.

Kalkan

Some of the basic key measures are social distancing where possible, frequently washing your hands and wearing a mask. 

With effect from midnight on 8th September it became mandatory to wear a mask at all times outside your home in all parts of Turkey. There are certain limited exceptions such as when you are eating, drinking or swimming.  But at other times everyone - Turkish citizens, foreign residents and foreign tourists must wear a mask.  This applies to everyone more than two years old.

Note that currently it is not necessary to observe a period of quarantine when you arrive in Turkey from the UK, nor is this required upon your return to the UK.

Curfews
Things have changed recently.

If you look at the FCDO Coronavirus advice page for Turkey it currently refers to curfews for those considered to be more at risk - those with chronic illnesses and foreigners with residence permits who are over 65 years old.  It is stated that the age related curfew does not to apply to visiting tourists.  The curfew is between the hours of 8pm and 10am the following morning.

However Turkish provinces have authority to apply local rules where they see fit and earlier this week the province of Antalya updated local regulations so that people aged 65 or older must observe a daily curfew between 5pm and 10am the following morning. 

This provincial law refers to "tüm vatandaşlarımızın" which translates as all citizens, however we contacted the Kalkan Jandarma to find out how they are applying the rules here.  They told us that it applies to everyone: Turkish citizens, foreign residents and foreign tourists.  Recent actions by the Jandarma in enforcing these new regulations in Kalkan would tend to confirm this is the interpretation they are working to.  It's an approach that will not be popular with tourists and the local businesses that serve them, so it will be interesting to see how long this interpretation prevails and just how rigorous the ongoing checks will be.

The UK's FCDO web site does not reflect the local reality.

One final point on the age related curfew.  In Turkey it is customary to measure a person's age slightly differently to other countries.  When someone is born, in their first year they are considered to be one year old.  On their first birthday they begin their second year and they are considered to be two years old.  It follows therefore that a UK citizen may consider themselves to be 64 years old but in Turkey that would normally be regarded as your 65th year.  Don't be surprised if the Jandarma use this method of calculation.

Hayat Evi Sığar (HES) Codes
HES is the Turkish track and trace system for Coronavirus.  As we explain below a new rule has been introduced that will neccessitate a greater use of HES codes.

Turkish citizens and foreign residents need a HES code if they are travelling on public transport.  Following a recent change in the law they also require a code if they wish to enter premises to use a number of services, including banks, the post office and most government offices.  Turkish citizens and foreign residents will not be allowed to enter these places without a HES code.  According to the UK FCDO travel advice page for Turkey this is not a requirement for foreign tourists.

To properly understand what HES is and what it isn’t, and also how you can get a code, please read this official government web site (in English).  It’s pretty comprehensive.  Hayat Evi Sığar (HES)

The FCDO Coronavirus advice page for Turkey also tells you how to obtain a HES code. 

You can find the HES app in the Apple and Google app stores:

https://apps.apple.com/tr/app/hayat-eve-sığar/id1505756398

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tr.gov.saglik.hayatevesigar

Levels of compliance
Compliance with Coronavirus rules in Kalkan is inconsistent.  We have recently observed a wide spectrum of behaviours ranging from those who appear fastidious in their Coronavirus safety actions, to people who appear to be trying to make a point that they are not going to be told what to do.  Most are somewhere in between.

As we have said before whatever others may do, you can take steps to mitigate the risk to you and those close to you.  You can choose not to go to businesses that don't take this subject seriously.  Conversely you can give more custom to those businesses who do try harder to keep you safe.  Why not provide constructive feedback either way.

You can limit your interactions with others.  For example ask yourself how many times the guy stood outside a restaurant has 'fist bumped' people walking by before trying to do the same to you.  It's not a great idea to take a leaflet or flyer that is being handed out either.

If you need to shop try to avoid places that appear packed and consider shopping at times when it may be less busy, such as early in the morning.  Generally speaking members of staff follow the rules but not all shoppers do.

Note that a regulation was recently introduced that required all live and recorded music in restaurants, cafes and bars to cease at midnight.  Compliance has been quite good with a few exceptions.  The Jandarma has been seen out and about enforcing this new requirement

Kalkan

Below: Wearing a face mask in all public places became mandatory at midnight on 8th September.

Kalkan

The Jandarma, Traffic Jandarma and Zabita continue to patrol Kalkan to check compliance with the latest Coronavirus regulations and we know that some individuals have been fined for breaking the law.  But they can't be everywhere and so you will undoubtedly see examples of non-compliance around Kalkan.

Whether anyone would choose to report serious instances of non-compliance is a matter for each individual, but if you do feel this is warranted the number for the local Jandarma is 156 (or direct 0242 844 3005).

Kalkan

Below: Down on the beach.

Kalkan

Coronavirus - impact on tourism
Kalkan has seen tourism change this year.  

The Coronavirus lockdown earlier this year blew a huge hole in overseas tourism in Kalkan and in Turkey as a whole.  For Kalkan in terms of numbers of visitors this hole was partially filled by domestic tourists.  For the remaining months of the season the hope is that foreign visitors will significantly increase in number however with Coronavirus cases rising around the world it seems highly unlikely that we will see anything like normal levels of tourism.

In terms of tourism spend it is our understanding that this is down.  From the conversations we have had with business owners, foreigners typically spend more when they come to Kalkan on holiday compared to domestic tourists.

Many businesses including restaurants, cafes and bars have not seen the usual footfall this year and it will be difficult for some to survive.  In any year there are always a few businesses that don't make it but this year will be more challenging than ever.

Banks have been supporting tourism businesses through difficult trading conditions, including providing loan repayment holidays, but this only buys time; the loans will have to be repaid eventually.  And any business that has borrowed in foreign currency will find they have more to repay due to the weakness of the lira and adverse movements in the exchange rate against major currencies.

One sector that has remained quite buoyant is accommodation where demand has remained strong.  And we have also noticed that there is still money available for building projects, both in Kalkan and the outlying villages.  Property sales are reasonably buoyant too with some of those new Turkish visitors deciding to invest in Kalkan rather than do holiday rentals.

Statistics
The latest tourism statistics for July show the scale of the fall off in international visitors.

For the year to July the total number of foreign visitors to Turkey was 5.4 million, of which 204,000 were from Britain.  This compares to 27.4 million for the same period in 2019 including 1.4 million British visitors.

For the single month of July the total number of visitors from abroad was 932,927 compared to 6.6 million in July 2019.  Only 74,671 British arrivals were recorded in the month of July, compared to 425,000 in July 2019.

Source: Ministry of Culture and Tourism

The figures for international arrivals at Turkish airports up to the end of August show a similar picture.

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

Antalya: August 2020 - 1,168,291  (August 2019 - 4,932,588).

Dalaman: August 2020 - 24,684 (August 2019 - 650,590).  Just one month earlier in July 2020 Dalaman arrivals were recorded as 44,042 so the number of Dalaman arrivals in August appears to be disappointingly low.

Source: General Directorate of State Airports Authority

Scheduled flights to Dalaman and Antalya are being ramped up by some (Jet2 and Turkish Airlines) with others cutting back (easyJet).  With such a confusing approach to flight schedules and Coronavirus cases on the increase in many countries the outlook for the rest of the season is far from certain.

If you have made it to Kalkan we hope you enjoy your time here.  Stay safe.

 

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#StaySafe

Katie-Ellen

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