Member of the Coronavirus Social Science Council of the Ministry of Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Gazi University Prof. Dr. Mustafa Necmi İlhan assessed the new period of coronavirus epidemic process to the reporter of İhlas News Agency (İHA).
Addressing the issue of the complete abolition of the use of masks in all closed areas except public transport and health facilities, which was announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after the scientific committee that is held yesterday, Prof. İlhan said the Covid-19 process is a dynamic process and the decision taken at this stage is appropriate.
Emphasizing that individual measures will now be more important, İlhan noted that it is important for the person to self-isolate if there are signs of illness and again pay attention to the use of masks. İlhan also noted that if the process progresses in this way, the downward trend in the number of cases towards the summer period may accelerate after Ramadan.
“The actions to take when cases are high and the actions to take when cases are low are of course different from each other”
Underlining that there have been many difficult periods in the Covid-19 process, which has been going on for about two and a half years, the member of the scientific committee, Prof. Dr. İlhan said, “We have around 2,000 cases per day at the stage we have reached, and it has been like this for 10-15 days. Of course, the precautions to take when the cases are high and the precautions to take when the cases are low are different from each other. We should know that the epidemic period is a dynamic process. Although there are many cases and there is no vaccine, it is the right approach to wear a mask, pay attention to distance and avoid gathering in crowded areas; If you have a weapon like a vaccine in your hands, it was a long overdue process for it to continue in this way, given that individual precautions come to the fore with the decrease in cases, vaccination continues in the risk groups, and all of us learned how to fight the epidemic.
“It is possible to say that these restrictions will be lifted if the epidemic develops into a sporadic endemic, which can be called differently from a pandemic.”
Referring to the decision that the mask requirement was lifted in closed areas, except for exceptional places announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, İlhan said: “Not long ago, our Minister of Health said it was not necessary to use masks in the open air. Since yesterday, as in the statements of our president after our meeting of the scientific committee, it is no longer necessary to use masks in closed areas. Two exceptions, which have been discussed before. We have also declared. For now, the risk may persist in health facilities because we already have cases. There is such an approach for our citizens who come to the hospital both to protect themselves and not to infect others if they are infected. There is also such an approach, since public transport is very congested. It is possible to say that these restrictions will be lifted if the number of cases falls below a thousand, or even if it turns into sporadic endemic, which can now be called differently from the pandemic.
“Of course, if there are citizens who want to wear masks here, it must be expressed that they must behave as they wish.”
Once the decision was made, İlhan stressed that instead of discussing why people should wear masks in society, they should take individual precautions. In other words, instead of criticizing any citizen of society for “why do you wear a mask or why don’t you wear a mask”, everyone frankly assesses their own risks for them, in particular the citizens over the age of 65 and have chronic illnesses, as we have learned from other citizens; If we meet in a closed area and cannot keep our distance, we must pay attention to ventilation.
“It is possible to say that this difficult process that we have been living together for about two and a half years is gradually coming to an end”
Ilhan emphasized that they don’t expect a different variant that will make the disease stronger and change its course at the current stage, but if it does, they will proceed by taking action accordingly, adding, “I hope there will be no such risk in the next process. We can say that we are not expecting at all, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we are not expecting too much. But if there is a very different variant, we will all continue to fight it because we have learned to fight the epidemic. But that is very unlikely, in our process which is starting to become normal now; It is possible to say that this difficult process that we have been living in our homes for almost two and a half years, with our employees, our scientists, our doctors and our losses, is coming to an end.
“Now it’s time to be together this holiday”
Stating that gatherings during Ramadan holidays have been restricted for about two years, scientific committee member İlhan reminded that it is possible to gather during these holidays and said:
“For two years, our fellow citizens did not celebrate Eid al-Fitr and did not visit their elders. Even though the hearts were one, they remained distant from each other in terms of physical and social distance. Now is the time to be together this party. But when we are together, we have to be careful of our seniors over 65 and those who suffer from chronic illnesses, like before the epidemic. As you know, there was a risk of flu before the epidemic, there were risks of respiratory diseases. If we are going to visit our elders in a large crowd, we should pay attention to ventilation. Of course, we will touch, hug, kiss the hands of our elders, kiss each other, but we must always be careful during these processes. One of the main issues here is whether the person has any signs of infection, such as a runny nose, fever, and weakness. In this process, they can isolate themselves a bit and wear a mask during this process. If there are too many people, then our elders can wear masks and pay attention to ventilation again.
“Don’t worry, proceeding as carefully as possible will allow us to go through the process in the most intact way”
Pointing out that the number of cases may increase slightly due to the social mobility to be experienced due to Eid al-Fitr, İlhan said: “If we continue the process in this way, I hope we can experience days best during the summer period after Ramadan.
Perhaps with increased mobility, there may be an increase in cases, albeit a bit, with people traveling to their hometowns and vacation spots. But not to worry about it, proceeding as carefully as possible will allow us to pass the process in the most intact way. I think it will make it easier for us at this time when we are very close to normal,” he said.