Turkey detects South Africa, Brazil variants of coronavirus
The number of cases related to the U.K variant of the coronavirus has increased to 196, Koca said following the Health Ministry’s Science Board meeting on Feb. 3, warning that daily infections are on the rise again.
“The patients contracted the virus variants, as well as their contacts, have been isolated,” the minister said in a statement.
The variants of the coronavirus have been found in the country’s 23 provinces to date, according to Sema Turan from the Science Board.
Last week, Koca said that the U.K. virus variant was detected in 17 provinces of Turkey, and 129 people were infected with the mutated variants.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases has been hovering at around 8,000 over the past week.
“The surge in the infections requires us to act even more cautiously. Let’s stay away from crowded places and avoid large gatherings,” Koca cautioned the public.
In the wake of the increase in cases once again, the measures against the pandemic will continue at full throttle, he added.
When the infections started to rise in December 2020, the government introduced a raft of measures to check the spread of the virus, including weeknight curfews and full lockdowns on weekends, and authorities said that it helped in bringing the number of cases down to 5,000.
With restrictions in place, the government on Jan. 14 rolled out its massive vaccination program.
Turkey has already vaccinated 2.5 million people against COVID-19, mostly health care staff and the elderly.
The vaccinations of citizens over 65 and those in the second group will commence after safety tests of the injections are completed, Koca said.
The country is carrying out the inoculation drive in four stages.
In the second stage, essential workers and those aged between 50 and 64 will get the shot.
The third stage includes those with at least one chronic disease aged below 50 and young adults.
In the fourth stage, the rest of the population will be vaccinated.
Turkey runs tests for 14 days on the vaccines, developed by the Chinese pharma company Sinovac, in its laboratories before administering the jabs to people.
In the second shipment of a second batch of the Chinese vaccine shots, Turkey received 3.5 million more doses on Jan. 29.
A total of 10 million doses of the vaccine were delivered in the second batch.
The first batch of vaccines consisted of 3 million doses.
Turkey signed a deal with Sinovac to buy 50 million doses to vaccinate 25 million people.
The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart.