Published On: Thu, Jun 10th, 2021

Turkey’s Best Kept Secret: The HES Code – America Should Follow Turkey’s Lead

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By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL- Turkey’s best kept secret is what makes traveling in this country a much safer option: the HES code.  One of Turkey’s strengths is its efficiency in mobilizing on a national scale for the pandemic where other countries still fall short. The HES code is Turkey’s secret weapon in the fight against the spread of the virus. The reason this system works so well is because the Turkish government is strict in requiring everyone in Turkey to have the code that consists of a few letters and a number sequence that are unique to each individual that can be immediately accessed by a nationwide system to track whether individuals are or were COVID positive. What makes the system virtually fool proof is that all incoming tourists and residents of the country are required to have the code in order to go anywhere and anyplace in Turkey.

A recent news article in the U.S. questioned how effective new, relaxed mask rules from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will be because currently there is no system like the HES code in America to determine who is vaccinated or who had the virus. This is what makes it problematic to allow Americans in department stores, banks, eateries and malls  with a relaxed mask mandate. But in Turkey, no one can travel anywhere or enter anyplace without showing their HES code and a mask is always required everywhere. If there is any problem on the HES code, entry is immediately refused with no exceptions.

The HES code is the brainchild of the Turkish Ministry of Health and a mandatory application under the ministry auspices. It is designed to keep people safe when they travel throughout Turkey during the pandemic and as they follow their daily routines. Each HES code consists of a number-letter code assigned to each individual that indicates whether or not the person has the virus or had the virus. The code is presented to security at malls, banks, hospitals where they check the code through a special system.  The purpose of the HES code is to minimize everyone’s risk of contracting the virus. People who were exposed to COVID-19 can be restricted from travel or other activities based on the information in their HES code. Currently, the Ministry of Health stated this application will be expanded in workplaces, clinics and institutional visits.

Turkey began promoting its ‘Safe Tours’ which means with the required HES code, tours in Turkey offer prime security since tour operators are strictly required by law to check each tourist’s code to make sure they are not positive for the virus. Because Turkey still has a mask mandate throughout the country, masks plus the HES code provide some of the best protection in the world right now. It’s high time for America to follow Turkey’s lead.

What’s great about the HES code is that it’s easily accessible through a simple online app. To get the HES code, you can follow this link: https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/saglik-bakanligi-hes-kodu-uretme-ve-listeleme. Safe travels and welcome to Turkey.

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