Eyewitness: Turkey and Covid-19
By Euan Youdale17 April 2020
Platformder, the assocation for aerial platforms in Turkey, provides an insight into how COVID-19 is affecting the access industry and the country.
Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus as a pandemic on 11 March, restrictions have been put in place that have restricted movement and economic activity, reports Platformder.
The contruction industry, says the association, has been, “faced with a slowdown of work at construction sites, the delay of planned investments and the suspension of rental contracts. On the other hand, we have to work to retain the existing staff and pay their salaries.”
The MEWP sector has also been affected by the crisis. The slowdown in economic activities had a direct impact on the sector, says Platformder, although existing projects are continuing. And on a positive note, rental of platforms will be required for construction work of facilities to help control the pandemic. In addition, law requires the use of platforms in Turkey, therefore they should be adopted where relevant work does take place, even though utliisation is very low, compared to the months before the outbreak.
Support packages put into practice by the Government of the Republic of Turkey are aimed at overcoming the situation with as little damage as possible. This includes deferred tax and insurance payments. In addition, vehicles are temporarily prohibited from leaving or entering 31 cities and towns in the country. Although, there are exceptions where special permission is provided.
Strict curfews have been imposed for under 20 and over 60 year olds. In addition, the general public have been asked not to leave their homes unless it is essential. Working from home is now standard where possible in the public and private sectors. In addition, intercity transportation by sea has been stopped and restrictions are imposed on domestic airline flights. On the other hand, “Easy on-site customs clearance has been introduced for exports and imports. In this way, transactions can be made without documentation and human contact.”
The association adds, “Companies have been banned from firing their staff for three months. Again, short term working allowance support has been provided for the employees who have taken leave.”
As in many countries, Turkey’s entire education system has switched to remote learning, with all students continuing their education from their homes either via computer, television or tablet.
All hospitals and healthcare institutions now provide their services freely to patients suffering from COVID-19 and the government has made contributions of healthcare-related equipment to more than 40 countries. The association added, “Many private sectors have stopped existing manufacturing and started to provide for the needs of the health sector.”