Pandemic weakening, caseload falling: Koca
Caseloads of hospitals across the country are declining as the COVID-19 pandemic is weakening by the day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said, warning that people, especially the elderly, still need to get their booster shots against the virus.
There are no COVID-19 patients in intensive care units in 21 out of all 81 provinces in Turkey; the situation is improving across the country, the minister said on April 22 in the southeastern province of Adıyaman.
“Hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care units have dropped to their lowest since the start of the pandemic,” Koca furthered.
The number of daily infections, which exceeded 100,000 in early February, has declined below 5,000 in the past week.
Since the first case was reported in Turkey in March 2020, the coronavirus has infected nearly 15 million people and caused the death of some 98,000 patients.
However, despite the better outlook in the COVID-19 situation, the minister repeated his call for people to receive a booster shot, especially those who have chronic illnesses and the elderly.
“Almost all those who lost their lives [due to the virus] recently were either elderly or had underlying conditions.”
There are no supply problems regarding the vaccines, Koca said, reminding that Turkey offers three different types of jabs to its citizens, including domestically developed Turkovac.
Turkey launched its vaccination drive in January last year, starting with the health care workers and the elderly. Initially, the country used the vaccine developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac and later added Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab to its arsenal.
In late December last year, Turkey rolled out its homegrown vaccine Turkovac.
But, experts, who voice optimism that the country will take a deep sigh of relief from the pandemic this summer, have been warning for some time that the pace of the vaccination has slowed down. They link this to the improved pandemic situation.