Turkish Town Installs ‘Mask Cams’ to Shame Coronavirus Rule Violators

Panoramic view Trabzon city in Black Sea region,Turkey
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In the Turkish town of Trabzon, Mayor Murat Zorluoğlu has installed a “mask cam” at a major bus stop to document and shame people not wearing masks outdoors, Euronews reported this week.

The camera uses face recognition technology to reproduce CCTV footage of the rule violator on the bus stop’s advertising panel.

“The system detects anyone not wearing a face covering and superimposes an image of the [Chinese corona]virus instead,” Euronews explained. “It disappears when the commuter covers their nose and mouth.”

The Turkish government currently requires people to wear face coverings “in all public places, even when outdoors,” Euronews reported. Anyone without a mask can be fined up to 900 Turkish lira ($115) on the spot, according to the news outlet.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday announced a series of new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country amid a recent surge in the number of new cases nationwide. The restrictions include “a nightly curfew on weekdays, a mandatory stay-at-home order covering the entire weekend, a limiting of weddings and funerals to 30 people, and a ban on the use of public transport for over-65s and under-20s,” Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

The government began imposing the weekday curfew, which lasts from 9:00 p.m. — 5:00 a.m., on December 1, Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported, adding that the “all-out weekend lockdown will also be in place between Friday night and Monday morning for the first time in months” starting December 4.

Turkey on Thursday recorded 32,381 new coronavirus cases within the previous 24 hours according to Turkish health ministry data. The figure includes asymptomatic cases. Turkey’s coronavirus death toll on Thursday rose by 187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, according to the same data.

The country’s number of daily new cases on Thursday was the fourth-highest globally. Only the U.S., Brazil, and India had more new coronavirus infections than Turkey on December 3, according to Al Jazeera.

Erdoğan said on Monday that Turkey’s recent coronavirus surge has left him with “no choice but to minimize human mobility to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic.”

Turkey’s federal government has also “authorized local administrations to take their own, specific measures against the outbreak based on trends,” according to Daily Sabah. As a result, the governor of Istanbul district Beyoğlu partially shut down a major avenue in the capital on Thursday, enforcing measures that limit business hours and the number of pedestrians allowed to walk on the street for an indefinite period of time.

“The plan is to have only one person per 3 square meters (32 square feet) on the 21,000-square-meter street. Police officers already patrol the avenue to encourage adherence to social-distancing and mask-wearing rules and to issue warnings or fines to those failing to comply with the rules,” the newspaper revealed.


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