Experts warn of new wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey

The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Turkey currently hovers around 22,000 and will likely reach around 30,000 by next week, a member of the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board warns.

Prof Deniz Odabaş said a “fourth wave” of the pandemic was underway due to the delta variant. “People think we are back to the good old days and the pandemic is over,” said Odabaş, pointing to a normalization process that began on July 1, when most restrictions, including curfews, went down. been lifted.

“The delta variant is more contagious and if the momentum in the increase in cases continues, we could see cases climb to around 30,000 next week, when we see the fallout from mobility at Qurban Bayram (also known as the name of Eid al-Adha), ”Odabaş said. She was referring to a marked nine-day holiday earlier this month, with people heading to vacation spots and their hometowns across the country. country She called on the public to be cautious, especially in crowded places, such as wedding halls, concerts and festivals.

“Even if you are outside, you should keep at least a meter and a half away from other people. I don’t see a lot of people embracing measures, like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. They depend on the vaccines but you should have at least two doses and for those injected with CoronaVac you should have three doses for better protection against the delta variant, ”she warned.

Odabaş also said that the actual number of cases could be higher due to asymptomatic patients and people not being tested even though they have symptoms. “People should be more careful, especially in provinces where the number of (weekly) cases per 100,000 is over 100, such as Siirt (the eastern province with the highest number of cases per 100,000, at 748) “, she warned.

Turkey has exceeded 72 million doses in its vaccination campaign launched in January 2021. Experts say Turkey needs to vaccinate at least 70% of the population with two doses to achieve the mass immunity needed to stem the pandemic.

The country is working to juggle increased business and public demand for standardization and effective response to the pandemic. On July 1, all curfews and similar restrictions were lifted across the country, following a strict 17-day lockdown that reduced the daily number of cases to around 5,000. vaccination which accelerated before the normalization process, the country managed to bring the numbers down for a while.

However, an inevitable spike in the number of cases surfaced again earlier this month. People abandoning the mandatory mask rule, social distancing and hygiene rules during the period of normalization and higher mobility are seen as the culprits for the increase.

Vaccination hesitation, which was particularly prevalent in the eastern regions, is also at the origin of the outbreak.

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