Turkiye, Politics, Health

Turkey: New measure would protect healthcare workers

Bill to protect healthcare workers from violence especially important amid coronavirus pandemic, says lawmaker

Emin Avundukluoglu   | 09.04.2020
Turkey: New measure would protect healthcare workers


As Turkey works to fight the coronavirus pandemic, its parliament will debate a new bill meant to protect from violence the people on the fight’s front line, its healthcare workers.

"The bill will be debated by the Justice Committee on Monday, but it might be incorporated in the penal reform bill being debated by the full parliament," Ramazan Can, lawmaker from the central Kirikkale province, told Anadolu Agency.

If it is added to the penal reform bill, it could skip the committee, he added.

The bill would strengthen penalties for violence towards healthcare workers.

Under the bill, penalties for threatening, insulting, injuring, or hindering healthcare workers from doing their duties would be increased 50%.

Can said that Turkey tried to take the best measures to stem the pandemic by highlighting the frontline fight of healthcare workers.

"We’re in a national mobilization against coronavirus. At such a time, the bill aims to dissuade people from ill-treating healthcare workers," Can said.

Turkey's “healthcare army” includes nearly half a million medical staffers and 360,000 support personnel fighting coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a tribute to the workers this week.

"We want to give moral motivation to our healthcare workers,” said Can. “You know, there were some heedless people who in the past targeted healthcare workers with violence. We want to prevent all violations of the healthcare workers. With this measure, we clearly want to reinforce deterrence of violence towards healthcare workers."

Turkey has so far reported 38,226 COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 812.

Since the virus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 184 countries and regions, infecting nearly 1.5 million people and killing nearly 90,000, according to the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University.

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