Pandemic less effective than before but not over, expert warns
While the impact of the pandemic has become less effective compared to what it was two years ago, it is not correct to say that the pandemic is over, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Board has said.
Speaking during the National Pulmonary Health Congress in the southern province of Antalya, Tevfik Özlü stressed that the pandemic was under control on a vast scale.
“There are more than a million cases daily across the globe; between 4,000 and 5,000 people die. However, we are not as concerned today as we were two years ago [against the coronavirus]. Things have changed,” the professor said.
With the easing of measures and lifting of curfews and lockdowns, people are finally returning to normalcy, the professor said, linking the success to the vaccinations.
“Not sufficiently, but many have received vaccinations in Turkey. When you add the people who have been infected, though this number increased with the Omicron variant, I believe we have reached a herd immunity,” he added.
According to the professor, community immunity led the coronavirus to turn into an ordinary disease, no more posing a threat to society,
He also said citizens would be able to relax more this coming summer.
“I think we will reach the summertime under better circumstances. The pandemic will slow down as the weather will get warmer, and people will go out more,” the professor noted.
Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) praised Turkey in its fight against the pandemic in a high-level meeting on health and migration in Istanbul.
In his address, Hans Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca for the country’s supplying health equipment to 160 countries.
“The reason Istanbul was chosen for the meeting is that Turkey is a country that hosts the highest number of refugees and supplies health services equally to all migrants it hosts without any discrimination,” Kluge said.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million registered Syrian refugees, along with close to 320,000 persons of concern from other nationalities, according to data by the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR.
The organization hopes that the cooperation with Turkey will also continue in the future, Kluge said.
Following the meeting, Kluge presented an award for Turkey’s success in the fight against the coronavirus to Koca.
Uploading the photos of the awards ceremony on his Twitter account, the minister said, “We accept this award in the name of the Turkish health community.”
Turkey has administered more than 146.3 million doses of coronavirus vaccines since the vaccination drive began in January 2021.
Nearly 58 million people have received their first vaccine jabs. Some 53 million people are now fully inoculated, while around 27.5 million have received their booster shots.