Hospitals not overwhelmed by rising cases, says minister
Despite the stubbornly high COVID-19 cases, Turkey’s hospitals are not overwhelmed thanks to vaccinations, the country’s health minister has said, adding that schools will not close again.
Fahrettin Koca noted that daily infections are hovering around 30,000 and stressed that since most of the cases are seen among young people and due to the ongoing inoculations, hospitals are able to handle the pandemic.
“While people under 30 comprised nearly half of the COVID-19 cases, elderly people constituted most of the fatalities and patients in intensive care units in the country,” Koca said in a statement following a meeting of the Health Ministry’s Science Board, which advises the government on the pandemic.
Young people should now take more responsibly in the fight against COVID-19 and act more responsibly, the minister added.
The spread of the virus continues no matter how much effort officials put in, especially if herd immunity has not been achieved, Koca warned, renewing his call for the public to get vaccinated, particularly the booster doses.
Earlier this week, the minister revealed that up to 5 million people who have already received two doses of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccines have skipped their third shot.
Following the Science Board meeting, he once again stressed that the vaccination drive has been slowing down recently.
In his statement, Koca also assured the public about the safety of Turkey’s own coronavirus jab, Turkovac.
Each stage of the local jab is evaluated by independent scientists, the minister said, calling on those who received two doses of inactivated vaccines to volunteer in receiving Turkovac to support its development.
Since the inoculation program was launched in mid-January, Turkey has given nearly 115 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines - both the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Chinese Sinovac’s inactivated injection. To date, some 48 million people have been fully vaccinated, while over 53 million people have received their first dose.
The country has also given third booster shots to around 11 million people.
In-class education to continue
Koca also said members of the Science Board are receiving many questions about whether schools will remain closed.
“I want to state this clearly: Schools will not close, this will never be on our agenda. We will continue face-to-face education by protecting children and taking all necessary measures.”
More than 18 million students and over 1 million teachers returned to schools for in-class education on Sept. 6 after nearly an 18-month hiatus.