Turkey taking measures against COVID-19’s Delta variant
Turkey has halted flights from six nations and mulls plans to conduct vaccinations on a tighter schedule to counter the Delta variant of COVID-19 as the country is preparing to move to a new phase in normalization later this week.
Flights from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have been suspended until further notice, the Interior Ministry announced in a directive on June 28, saying that the course of the pandemic in some countries showed a recent escalation due to the new variants of the COVID-19 virus.
The people arriving in Turkey from another country after having been in one of these countries in the last 14 days will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result conducted in the last 72 hours.
They will also be quarantined at places determined by local governor’s offices for 14 days.
The ministry’s circular added that passengers arriving in Turkey from the U.K., Iran, Egypt, and Singapore will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result obtained in the last three days.
Of the people coming to Turkey from other countries, those who can provide a document showing the administering of a virus vaccine in the last 14 days or recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months will not be required a test result or to be quarantined.
Last week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that a total of 134 cases of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India, had been confirmed in 16 of Turkey’s provinces and that no cases of the Delta Plus variant had been detected yet.
In the face of the surge in the Delta variant cases globally, Turkey is also mulling plans to accelerate the vaccinations against the virus.
According to plans under consideration, the second dose of the COVID-19 will be administered four weeks after the first one in order to fight the new variant in a much more effective way.
Currently, two doses are given six to eight weeks apart.
Moreover, officials reckoned that the vaccination drive may lose steam during the summer as people travel to resorts and their hometowns. In order to keep the pace of inoculations, mobile teams will be dispatched to resorts and agricultural fields to vaccinate holidaymakers and farm workers on the spot.
Starting next week, the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Russia, may be offered to people in Turkey, according to officials. Turkey has been using the jabs developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac and Pfizer/BioNTech.
Since the start of the vaccination drive in mid-January, Turkey has administered nearly 49 million doses of the COVID-19 shots, with some 15 million people having been fully vaccinated. Some 34 million people have received their first doses.