Turkey confirms first cases of mu coronavirus variant

Turkey on Sept. 7 confirmed its first cases of the new mu variant of the coronavirus in two people. Speaking to journalists, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the Delta and Delta plus strains currently account for over 90 percent of cases in Turkey,

People are seen walking in Istanbul's Karaköy neighborhood.

Duvar English - Anadolu Agency 

The Mu variant of COVID-19 has been detected in at least two people in Turkey, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Sept. 7. 

Speaking to journalists, Koca said Turkey is monitoring the situation and no new measures are being considered at the moment.

He said the Delta and Delta plus strains currently account for over 90 percent of cases in Turkey, but the figure is expected to gradually decline as more people are vaccinated.

“It is essential that we continue to comply with mask, social distancing, and hygiene rules until herd immunity is achieved,” he said.

First identified in Colombia this January, the Mu strain has been found in 39 countries so far and was recently classified as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization.

The variant accounted for less than 0.1 percent of infections worldwide, but its prevalence in Colombia and Ecuador has been rising and stood at 39 percent and 13 percent, respectively, by the end of August, according to the WHO.

Minister Koca said the government has no plans to close down schools again, which reopened after more than a year on Sept. 6 as some 18 million students returned for in-person education.

Koca said Turkey will continue to conduct PCR tests free of charge for unvaccinated people, who are now required to submit a negative result for domestic travel.

Under new measures that came into force on Sept. 6, people who are not fully vaccinated or have not recently recovered from COVID-19 must submit a negative PCR test for air, bus, and train travel.

According to latest data, over 80 percent of the country’s adult population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine, while more than 38.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.