A country where American Travel in record numbers and no questions asked

Flying from the US or Russia to Turkey is no problem. Many of the Turkish Airlines flights from US gateways leave with good loads. It’s because both Americans and Turkish authorites don’t really care.

Getting teeth or hair implants is the official reason for many American and Russian visitors, such services are available for a bargain in Turkey.

A eTN reporter recently flew from the US to Turkey stayed 2 weeks came back and wasn’t once asked about his temperature and how he felt.

United Airlines asked him in Honolulu on his flight to Chicago about COVID. Once in Chicago there were no more questions.

On his return flight, he checked his bags in Istanbul all the way to Los Angeles on his flight on Turkish Airlines to Munich and United Airlines to San Francisco and on to Los Angeles. No one ever asked him how he felt . German authorities did not allow him hinto the country since he flew from a high risk country (Turkey) to a high risk country (USA).

He boarded a United Airlines in Munich without any questions and went through immigration and customs in 2 minutes. No COVID test necessary, It may explain why the number one visitors in Turkey are from the USA and Russia at this time.

Istanbul remains to be a busy city. Bars now close on weekends, but there are always so many exceptions, and so many police officers having a lot of blind eyes for a reason.

Tourism in Turkey is moving forward and visitors love to travel to a country with hardly any restrictions. No worry about wearing masks on sightseeing busses.

The only eyeopening is when flying this last flight from Los Angeles to Honoluluy. A COVID-19 test is required and cannot be older than 3 days. However such tests are lmost impossible to get. Our reporter managed to get a test in just going to a pharmacy without appointment, but the result took one week to get back. He was asked in Honolulu to observe a 14 day quarantine.

Now Turkey changed the way it reports daily COVID-19 infections, it confirmed what medical groups and opposition parties have long suspected — that the country is faced with an alarming surge of cases that is fast exhausting the Turkish health system.

In an about-face, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government this week resumed reporting all positive coronavirus tests — not just the number of patients being treated for symptoms — pushing the number of daily cases to above 30,000. With the new data, the country jumped from being one of the least-affected countries in Europe to one of the worst-hit.

That came as no surprise to the Turkish Medical Association, which has been warning for months that the government’s previous figures were concealing the graveness of the spread and that the lack of transparency was contributing to the surge. The group maintains, however, that the ministry’s figures are still low compared with its estimate of at least 50,000 new infections per day.

No country can report exact numbers on the spread of the disease since many asymptomatic cases go undetected, but the previous way of counting made Turkey look relatively well-off in international comparisons, with daily new cases far below those reported in European countries including Italy, Britain and France.

That changed Wednesday as Turkey’s daily caseload almost quadrupled from about 7,400 to 28,300.

The country’s hospitals are overstretched, medical staff are burned out and contract tracers, who were once credited for keeping the outbreak under check, are struggling to track transmissions, Sebnem Korur Fincanci, who heads the association, told The Associated Press.

Even though the health minister has put the ICU bed occupancy rate at 70%, The person in charge for the Istanbul-based Intensive Care Nurses’ Association, says intensive care unit beds in Istanbul’s hospitals are almost full, with doctors scrambling to find room for critically ill patients.

There is a shortage of nurses and the existing nursing staff is exhausted.

The official daily COVID-19 deaths have also steadily risen to record numbers, reaching 13,373 on Saturday with 182 new deaths, in a reversal of fortune for the country that had been praised for managing to keep fatalities low. But those record numbers remain disputed too.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said 186 people had died of infectious diseases in the city on Nov. 22 — a day on which the government announced just 139 COVID-19 deaths for the whole of the country. The mayor also said around 450 burials are taking place daily in the city of 15 million compared with the average 180-200 recorded in November the previous year.

Koca has said that the number of seriously ill patients and fatalities is on the rise and said some cities including Istanbul and Izmir are experiencing their “third peak.” Turkey would wait, however, for two weeks to see the results of the weekend curfews and other restrictions before considering stricter lockdowns, he said.

Meanwhile, the country has reached an agreement to receive 50 million doses of the vaccine developed by Chinese pharmaceutical company SinoVac and hopes to begin administering it to medical staff and the chronically ill next month. It is also in talks to purchase the vaccine developed by Pfizer in cooperation with the BioNTech pharmaceutical company. A Turkish-developed vaccine is scheduled to be ready to use in April.

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