EDIRNE, Turkey 

A sizeable rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 variants in children means people should be even more careful about following safety measures, said a Turkish doctor on Tuesday.

Dr. Faruk Yilmaz, who teaches public health in Edirne, northwestern Turkey, told Anadolu Agency that the course of the virus has reached a crossroads.

“We see schools closing down in some places due to the disease. Our children are at risk,” said Yorulmaz, head of the Public Health Department at the Trakya University Medical School Hospital.

Everyone is responsible for taking care of their own health, said Yorulmaz, adding that people can avoid the virus using “simple measures.”

“For example, masks should be used appropriately, the social distance should not be less than 1.5 meters [five feet],” he explained.

“The time people spend together should not exceed 15 minutes as much as possible, and we should definitely follow rules such as taking hygiene measures.”

No ‘safe havens’

“This also applies to our children. Our school-age children must use masks,” he urged.

“Especially outside of classes, the risk of transmission is higher,” he added, explaining that in classes, warnings are used, but breaks can be a bigger problem.

Yorulmaz said that ironically, children in cities at low or medium risk for the virus are more likely to contract it now, adding: “Our adult population also faces the same risk.”

People should not see these cities as safe havens, he said,

It is also important to keep places well ventilated, said Yorulmaz, adding that this was difficult during the winter, but it should be easier with the arrival of spring.

Good ventilation “assures a drop in the amount of all types of microorganisms in the place. It’s extremely useful,” he explained.

“Because of the clean outer environment, houses should be ventilated at least three times a day. The frequency can be increased after the weather gets better.”

*Writing by Merve Berker

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