Middle East

Turkey issues Omicron warning as daily COVID infections surge

ISTANBUL, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Daily new coronavirus cases in Turkey jumped beyond 30,000 on Tuesday for the first time since Oct. 19, data showed, as the health minister warned of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Turkey recorded 32,176 cases and 184 deaths on Tuesday, health ministry data showed. Tuesday’s cases are the highest since Oct. 12.

Turkey’s daily case levels have been below or about 20,000 in December, down from about 30,000 in October. New infections surged 30% on Monday to above 25,000.

“Due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, it can be seen we are now entering a rising trend,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, urging Turks to get vaccinated and receive their booster shots.

At the weekend, Koca said that more than 10% of COVID-19 cases in Turkey were caused by Omicron. It announced its first six Omicron cases on Dec. 11.

Last week, Turkey’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Turkovac, received emergency use authorization from Turkish authorities. read more

Turkey has already administered more than 130 million doses of vaccines using shots developed by China’s Sinovac and by Pfizer/BioNTech.

Reporting by Can Sezer and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie

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