Omicron variant 10 pct of new cases in Turkey, says health minister

More than 10 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Turkey’s big cities are of the Omicron variant, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Saturday.

“The Omicron variant is spreading in our country as well, following its spread in Europe,” Koca said. “The new situation has made booster shots even more important. Those who had their vaccinations more than three months ago should strengthen their vaccine activity.”

There is no significant increase in hospitalisations due to Omicron, the minister said, adding that the variant does not require additional precautions. “We will continue our lives with masks, social distancing and vaccines,” Koca said. “We know that fear and worry affect life negatively, while precautions always work.”

Saturday saw 145 people die of COVID-19 related complications, while Turkey registered another 20,470 new cases. To date, 78,778 people have lost their lives due to the coronavirus.

On Friday, Coronavirus Scientific Council Member Dr Alper Şener had said almost all hospitalised COVID-19 patients had the Delta and Delta Plus variants.

Real figures on the spread of Omicron were not known, Şener said.

“On the field, the Omicron variant is not in overall scanning,” he added. “Case numbers take a significant hike when Omicron spreads in countries. In Turkey, there is a falling trend.”

Turkish Thorax Association Chairwoman Dr Oya İtil told reporters on Friday that the Omicron replicated itself 34 percent faster than the Delta variant and was twice as contagious. “Unfortunately we see that our country is yet to take any steps to tighten precautions,” she said.


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