Hospitalizations from COVID-19 declining, says health minister

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 declining, says health minister

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 declining, says health minister

Hospitalizations in Turkey due to COVID-19 is in decline, the country’s health minister has said, however, renewing calls on the public to get a booster shot against the virus.

“Following a noticeable drop, the number of daily cases remain at a certain level,” Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.

He, once again, stressed that the pandemic is hitting at-risk groups hard and people under risk must get their vaccines, particularly the booster shots.

On Feb. 24, daily infections declined below 80,000 for the first time since Feb. 14, data from the Health Ministry showed.

The country saw a steep increase in cases early January, with infections climbing over 100,000 due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. But since mid-February they remained below 90,000, but the daily deaths from the pandemic have been above 200.

However, experts, including Koca believe that the decline in infections will continue in the weeks ahead. The weekly incidence rate, in fact, dropped in Istanbul and İzmir, Turkey’s largest and third most populous cities, respectively but increased in Ankara, the second most populous city.

Officials even suggested that the country’s face mask mandate could be eased starting March and people may not be required to wear them outdoors anymore, while the mask requirement would continue in shopping centers, theaters and on public transport.

They also note that the pandemic is not currently overwhelming the country’s health system.

Between Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, the occupancy rate at adult intensive care units was 73 percent while overall occupancy rate at hospitals was 56 percent.

Since the first case was detected in March 2020, COVID-19 has infected nearly 13 million people and killed some 90,000 patients.

Data from the Health Ministry also showed that to date more than 145 million doses of the vaccine against the virus have been administered in Turkey. Around 53 million people have been double jabbed while close to 27 million have been given a third dose. Some 57 million people have received at least one dose of the shot.