As people go on more long-distance trips with the false assumption that the novel coronavirus pandemic is over, this could lead to “irreversible consequences,” a member of Turkey’s social sciences committee warned on Wednesday.

Dr. Mustafa Necmi Ilhan told Anadolu Agency that the risk of infection increased with long trips, ceremonies, get-togethers and collective activities.

Once the virus enters the body, it travels to the respiratory tract, liver, stomach, intestines and nervous system, causing the disease, said Ilhan.

Though underlining that long and crowded trips should be avoided when possible, he cautioned that if one must travel, they should keep their mask on and refrain at all times from touching the mouth, nose and eyes.

At the current stage, most infections happen at weddings, engagements and ceremonies, added Ilhan.

Ilhan said that the biggest threat in the near future for Turkey could be people’s carelessness during an approaching religious festival, when many visit their families and hometowns or go on vacation.

Recommending that people talk to each other on the phone, rather than in person, he said that if people must gather, they should do so in outdoor areas with social distance rules in mind.

“Visits should be kept short. If at home, the windows should be kept open and visits should be planned so that the home can be ventilated for half an hour in between. Everyone should be wearing masks.”

Virus transmittable at the beach

Holiday resorts also carry risk, Ilhan said, warning that the perception that COVID-19 cannot spread at the beach, sea or pool is wrong, with beaches being particularly suitable for infection.

He stressed that holiday-goers should keep their distance from others, with the danger compounded as it is often impossible to wear masks at the beach or pool.

Ilhan stressed that it is important to be careful about hygiene in the use of common areas and to avoid the use of common showers and cabins.

People must take particular care as September approaches, he said, adding that this was when potentially fatal respiratory illnesses — such as seasonal influenza and pneumonia — become more frequent.

Turkey is set to observe the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival from July 31 to Aug. 3.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit

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