COVID-19 variants are spreading quickly in Turkey, as they now account for 75 percent of new infections, the country's health minister said on March 30.
“The ratio of the mutation in Turkey has reached 75 percent on average. This is about 55 percent in some of the provinces, but in some, it hit a 95 percent rate,” Koca said in remarks to reporters in parliament.
“As the mutations are on the rise and mostly consist of U.K. variant which has a high probability of transmission, we need to stay away from closed spaces and crowded environments and avoid close contact during this period,” Koca said.
The minister said Turkey has so far received 2.8 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine with the total set to reach 4.5 million in about 10 days. He said that the Health Ministry will start administering this vaccine on citizens in the next few days.
The minister also commented on the criticism towards the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for holding massive congresses amid the pandemic, which are said to be partially responsible for the rising infection numbers.
“I am of the opinion that keeping this issue on the agenda has no use to anyone. We know that the virus gets transmitted in the closed spaces,” he said.
The minister also noted that people will be allowed to perform special night prayers of Tarawih in mosques during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, but “measures” will be adopted.
Turkey logs highest new COVID-19 cases since beginning of pandemic
Meanwhile, Turkey on March 30 recorded 37,303 new COVID-19 cases, the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic, Health Ministry data showed, a day after Ankara said it would tighten restrictions amid surging infections.
The latest daily death toll was 155, bringing the cumulative toll to 31,385, according to the Health Ministry.
The government eased measures to curb the pandemic in Turkey this month, prompting a surge in new cases. On March 29, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the tightening.