Covid-19 cases increased five-fold within one week in Istanbul: Health Minister

The number of COVID-19 cases increased five-fold in Istanbul in one week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Dec. 31, warning that the daily virus cases throughout Turkey might reach 60,000-70,000 soon amid a growing prevalence of the Omicron variant.

Duvar English 

The number of COVID-19 cases has seen a five-fold increase within the past week in Istanbul, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told HaberTürk journalist Fatih Altaylı on Dec. 31.

Pointing to the Omicron variant behind this increase, Koca said that 52 percent of all the cases throughout the country are detected in Istanbul.

“The increase in Istanbul is 500 percent. It is like a joke, but that is the ratio. Last week, the number of daily cases in Istanbul was 4,000. Do you know what it is this week? It is 20,500. The increase is five-fold,” Koca said.

Koca said that if the increase in daily cases experienced in Istanbul was also observed throughout Turkey, the daily case numbers would have exceeded 100,000 in the country.

The trend shows that the daily cases might spike to 60,000-70,000 soon, Koca said. “Our only consolation is that the increase [in cases] do not reflect on the hospitalizations, intensive care and deaths in the same rate. But this does not mean that we should behave in an imprudent way,” he said.

Asked by Altaylı about the statistics, Koca said that 87 percent of virus-related deaths consisted of people over the age of 60. “Sixteen percent of all cases are aged above 60, but they make up the 87 percent of deaths. Of course not just the age, but also illnesses depending on the age are effective in the deaths,” Koca said, once again urging people to get vaccinated.

Turkey recorded 39,681 new COVID-19 cases on Dec. 30 the highest number of daily infections since April 28. The number of daily cases has doubled in the last week and Koca said the situation required people to be much more careful than they have been in the past. 

Turkey also recorded 139 deaths as a result of the virus on Dec. 30, down from 142 a day earlier.