Acute phase of pandemic nearing end in Turkey, says health minister

Acute phase of pandemic nearing end in Turkey, says health minister

Acute phase of pandemic nearing end in Turkey, says health minister

The “acute” phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey is nearing an end, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said as the country broke yet another record in the number of daily vaccines administered.

The daily virus cases have declined sharply over the past weeks, easing from more than 60,000 in mid-April to around 6,000 lately.

In the face of the record number of infections, the government introduced a lockdown from April 29 to May 17 to bring the spread of the virus under control which apparently paid off.

“In these days we are in, I think that the acute period of the pandemic is nearing its end and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Koca said during an online meeting with Hans Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe.

Turkey will make good progress by carrying out an effective inoculation drive until the autumn, the minister added.

Koca also announced on June 16 that people will be able to make an appointment and have their shot on the same day.

The country’s vaccination program has gained a significant momentum recently. On June 15, a record number of 1.24 million doses of the jab were administered in a single day. The previous record was registered on June 14 at 842,494.

For his part, Kluge praised Turkey’s efforts to lower COVID-19 cases and the rapid implementation of the coronavirus vaccination. He also thanked Turkey for its international cooperation and solidarity.

People rushing to vaccination sites

There have been scenes of people from different age groups and professions lining up in long queues in front of the hospitals and other health centers in many cities to get their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine after the government further widened the scope of the inoculation drive.

“We have to get the shot if we want to live,” said Serap Tozlu, a resident of the northwestern province of Kocaeli, who was given her first shot at a tent set up in front of a public building.

The local health director in the Black Sea province of Samsun noted that they vaccinated 1,000 doses within 30 minutes. “We increased the daily vaccination capacity to 21,000,” Muhammet Ali Oruç said.

The queue was as much as 200 meters long in front of the Bağcılar Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul, which was once the epicenter of the outbreak.

More than 3,000 vaccines are administered a day, according to a health staff at the hospital.

“We have eight vaccination rooms. If 3,000 made an appointment, let me say, around 2,950 of them show up to have their shots,” he said.

A record number of 273,602 doses of the vaccine were administered on June 15 in Istanbul, Governor Ali Yerlikaya announced on Twitter.

A total of 6.2 million doses of the jab, including some 4 million doses of the first dose and 2.2 million of two doses, have been administered in the city, according to the governor.

Meanwhile, the number of inoculations in the country has surpassed 36.2 million. Nearly 22.3 million people have been given the first shot, while some 14 million people have been fully vaccinated.

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