Turkey prepping to open up, as budget collapses
Prof. Ateş Kara from the Health Ministry’s Science Commission has warned against the re-acceleration of the coronavirus spread if it’s not fully brought under control. Commenting on whether a normalization process is near, Kara said, “Think about this outbreak as a major fire. If you don’t take the fire completely under control and extinguish it, it can grow even larger with the slightest wind.
Turkey is supporting the real sector and lower-income groups in the face of coronavirus with a record 200 billion Turkish lira ($28.5 billion) Economic Stability Shield package, said Turkey’s president on Tuesday. Most of the expenditures repaid by the Central Bank, which is steadily increasing its asset purchases towards TL50 bn and state bank loans to corporates, which have risen at an annualized pace of 50% as of last week. The swift expansion of budgetary spending and money supply has reverberated in the exchange rate market, where TL is dropping like a led balloon against major currencies. Ankara is forced to begin relaxing corona-related restrictions on the production, movement and trade and goods and services.
Turkey’s government aims to begin reviving the economy in late May after a sharp slowdown due to measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, while minimising the risk of a second wave of infections, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Separately, the head of a group of Turkish malls – which closed their doors independently last month – said there were plans for a gradual reopening from May 11 depending on demand from retailers and approval from a health advisory board.
The emerging time frame from both the government and private sector reflects signs that the outbreak may be ebbing in Turkey, unease over the economy’s rapid slide toward its second recession in less than two years, and examples provided by some other countries acting to loosen their coronavirus lockdowns.
“When we look at the case and death numbers we have come to a positive point (and) there is a possibility for the economy to reopen,” said the senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Levels of trade, spending, manufacturing and consumer confidence have deteriorated due to containment measures and touched record lows this month. The lira fell on Tuesday to below 7 to the dollar, its weakest since the worst day of a 2018 currency crisis.
The senior official said Turkey’s cabinet had on Monday discussed further possible tax adjustments and incentives to protect jobs and cut business costs, adding the government aims to boost hard-hit tourism and airline sectors.
Reopening “will allow positive GDP readings in the second half of the year and will minimise the annual contraction,” he said.
Coronavirus spread can re-accelerate if it’s not fully contained, Turkish professor warns
Yet, not all medical authorities are certain that necessary measures have been taken to avert a “second wave”. Prof. Ateş Kara from the Health Ministry’s Science Commission has warned against the re-acceleration of the coronavirus spread if it’s not fully brought under control. Commenting on whether a normalization process is near, Kara said, “Think about this outbreak as a major fire. If you don’t take the fire completely under control and extinguish it, it can grow even larger with the slightest wind. That’s why we shouldn’t relax.”
The COVID-19 outbreak could spread to as much as 60 percent of the population, said Prof. Serap Şimşek Yavuz, member of Turkey’s parliamentary COVID-19 Science Committee, added in an interview with Gazette Duvar English.
“When you look at the number of COVID-19 patients in Turkey, they don’t even make up one percent of the population. This can spread until 60 percent of the population is infected,” Yavuz said.
The current preventative measures in place aim to slow the spread of the virus, but provisions might need to stay in place until a vaccine is created, Yavuz noted.
Meanwhile, public debate has been ongoing in Turkey concerning the relatively low number of patients in the country, with claims that Turkey doesn’t adhere to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) methods of counting the number of cases.
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