It is a very challenging time for the whole world as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates across Europe, America and Asia. The numbers are frightening, and there are tens of thousands of new daily cases in Europe. In Turkey, the number of daily patients exceeded 4,000, and daily deaths stood above 110 this week.
Winter is normally flu season. Now with COVID-19, it is very difficult to differentiate between the viruses. That is why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared new measures against the pandemic this week.
There will be a weekend curfew from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m and restrictions for those older than 65 and younger than 20. Restaurants, cafes and bars will have restricted operating hours and will only offer delivery services.
Theaters, cinemas and gyms are closing again, and sports events are being canceled.
So, Turkey is shutting down, at least until the new year.
The crisis is very deep, dear readers. This is not just a health issue; it encompasses every aspect of life. What will happen to the markets being shut? How will the restaurant and cafe business survive?
What about the tourism industry? Airlines? Travel agencies? Most importantly, education?
The schools have shut down again, and online education is not a substitute for face-to-face learning. What will be the consequences of all these side effects?
I am very worried about the state of the world for the next 10 years. States need a lot of money and sectors should be subsidized, but resources are not unlimited. To what extent can states expand in size?
I believe that the COVID-19 crisis needs global solutions, but unfortunately, the world is far from cooperating. The pandemic has claimed nearly 1.3 million lives in 191 countries since last December and over 54 million people have been infected.
While the numbers are dramatic, there have been major advancements in developing a vaccine, with different companies in Germany, the U.S., China and Russia whose work provides reason to be optimistic.
This means that probably by the middle of next year we will at least be able to provide vaccines to those most at risk. Until then the measures should be tight, and the world should treat the situation as an emergency.
But how sustainable is that? Can we survive another year of closed schools and economies?
I think every country should understand the importance of mutual help, and big economies such as the U.S. and China should be the initiators. While it seems impossible with President Donald Trump, when President-elect Joe Biden takes the Oval Office on Jan. 20 he may adopt a different approach. If the U.S. initiates cooperation, others can follow the trend.