No plans to close schools: Minister

No plans to close schools: Minister

No plans to close schools: Minister

While authorities have reported more than 54,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time in almost a year, Turkey’s Education Minister has said there are no plans to close schools yet.

“There is no question of closing schools at the moment; we are following the process closely,” Mahmut Özer said during an official visit to the governor’s office in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

Noting that the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been accelerating, the minister stated that there was no alarming situation for now for which new measures would be applied in schools.

Turkey’s Health Ministry has confirmed 54,724 new COVID-19 infections, 137 deaths and 26,561 recoveries over the past day.

“The Omicron variant caused the number of cases in Istanbul to exceed half the total number of cases,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, adding that the increase in the number of cases due to the new variant can also be seen in other provinces.

“Measures should be observed with the same seriousness everywhere,” Koca stressed.

Professor Tevfik Özlü, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board, said the Omicron variant spreads very quickly and is easily transmitted.

“There has never been such a rapid contagion,” Özlü said, emphasizing that vaccination is a must in order to overcome the wave that will emerge in this process.

Professor Nurettin Yiyit, another member of the Science Board, also stressed on the importance of wearing masks, observing social distance and getting vaccinated against the increasing number of cases.

“We saw the figures of 30,000 during the Delta variant, but we did not see the reflection of such a large number on hospitals, intensive care units or deaths,” Yiyit said, noting that the most important reason for this was the percentage of vaccinated population.

He stated that reminder doses are also of great importance in terms of protection from the virus.

Turkey has administered more than 133.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched an immunization drive last year.

At least 56.9 million people have received their first jab, while over 51.7 million have been fully vaccinated. The country has given third booster shots to more than 20 million people.

Meanwhile, Temel Karamollaoğlu, the leader of the opposition Felicity Party (SP), has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Thank God, I’m feeling good,” the 80-year-old politician said on Twitter, noting that he would spend the quarantine at home and thanking those who had wished him a quick recovery.

No information was given about whether Karamollaoğlu was vaccinated.

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