Virus cases spike in large cities

Virus cases spike in large cities

Virus cases spike in large cities

Turkey’s three largest cities have witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases within a space of just one week as the Omicron variant of the virus has taken hold in the country.

The incidence rate measuring the number of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people climbed from 664 cases between Dec. 25 and 31, 2021, to 1,222 in Istanbul, which is home to more than 15 million people, in the week of Jan. 1-Jan. 7, data from the Health Ministry showed on Jan. 17.

Ankara saw cases per 100,000 residents jump from 184 to 386 within a week, while in the western province of İzmir, the incidence rate rose from 323 to 575.

The northwestern province of Eskişehir, one of the country’s most populous cities, took the lead in the infections list with 1,360 cases, which marked a 65 percent rise from the previous week.

Turkey is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. On Jan. 12, the number of daily infections hit an all-time high of 77,722. In April last year, when the country saw a rise in infections, daily cases hovered above 60,000. After the country introduced a series of measures to arrest the spread of COVID-19, daily infections fell below 6,000 during the summer of 2021.

In a tweet on Jan. 16, Health Minister Fahrettion Koca renewed calls for the public to get the vaccine against the deadly virus. “There shouldn’t be any excuses for skipping the shot,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, some circles have put “negative propaganda” in circulation with confusing messages, the minister said in a separate post on Twitter. Efforts, which aim at managing the COVID-19 pandemic in a reasonable manner, have brought Turkey closer to normalcy, the minister said.

“Some claimed there was no pandemic, while others called for tougher restrictions. Do not get worried but do not act complacent either. We will go through these difficult times with measures [against the virus] and vaccination,” Koca said.

Turkey rolled out its jab drive exactly one year ago in January 2021. More than 139 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to date, with over 52 million people having been double jabbed. More than 23 million people have received a booster shot.

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