Experts strongly urge people to stick to anti-virus rules
People’s overtly complacent behavior appear be the reason behind the surge in the COVID-19 cases Turkey is currently experiencing, an expert has warned, while Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has urged the public to exercise the utmost caution in following basic anti-virus rules, particularly face masks.
The latest weekly incidence data showed that infections per 100,000 people in Istanbul doubled to 664 in the week of Dec. 25-Dec. 31 from around 304 between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24, while in İzmir, the country’s third largest city, they soared to 323 from 69 within a week.
Over the same period, the cases increased in 57 provinces of the country’s 81 provinces, with the northwestern province of Eskişehir taking the lead at 826 cases per 100,000 people.
“We are behaving as if the pandemic had disappeared from the world. We need to stop acting like this,” said Professor Oğuz Reşat Sipahi from the Ege University, adding that this complacent mood contributed to the rise in infections.
Koca also took to social media once again to stress that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious. “Because of this aspect [of the strain] taking personal measures has become more important. Put the face masks on properly to cover the mouth and nose and pay more attention to follow the social distancing rules,” Koca wrote on Twitter.
Professor Zafer Kurugöl, an infectious diseases expert at Ege University, who recently tested positive for the coronavirus and is presently in isolation, asserted that the cases will only continue to rise, proposing a vaccine mandate for those who would attend public events, such as concerts, or visit shopping centers and dine out at restaurants.
“I predicted that there would be surge in cases at the end of December or in early January. The rise in daily infections has already been very steep and they will increase further,” Kurugöl said, calling for more restrictive measures.
He noted that the mid-term break will begin soon, and children will go to movies and theaters. “We need to require people to prove that they have been vaccinated to enter such indoor places,” Kurugöl said.
Turkey has been lodging more than 60,000 daily cases since Jan. 5 with infections hitting a record 68,000 on Jan. 6.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in the country has neared 137 million doses. Some 22 million people have been given a third dose of the vaccine while around 52 million others have been double jabbed. Additionally, more than 57 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.