Turkish tourist hub of Antalya steps up COVID-19 testing

Turkey’s southern resort town of Antalya has boosted coronavirus testing for at least 65,000 foreign tourists since July 1, Daily Sabah reported on Sunday, citing local authorities.

Tests charged 15 euros each are available at a centre set up at Antalya Airport, which runs up to 500 tests daily, the newspaper said. Tests are administered as well at private-run hospitals and hotels in the southwest province. 

"The results can be made available in around four to eight hours,” Daily Sabah cited Dr. Ünal Hülür, head of Antalya’s Health Directorate, as saying. “All laboratories work around the clock and we sped up the process."

Turkey reopened to foreign tourists in June after a months-long lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But the country’s recent increase in recorded infections has raised concerns of further epidemic restrictions and negative effects on the country’s hard-hit tourism industry.

Tourists arriving at the Antalya airport are checked with thermal cameras and those with high fever and other suspected COVID-19 symptoms are tested, Daily Sabah said.

Since July 1, 600 people were screened for high fever and had undergone tests at the airport, according to Hülür.

Moreover, Turkish Coast Guard crews are patrolling a 650-kilometre stretch of shoreline to ensure rules the mitigate the outbreak are abided by, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, and speak English, Russian and other languages to inform tourists on how to maintain measures, Daily Sabah said.

In one month, 2,112 boats serving tourists have been inspected.