Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on March 10 blamed the rise in COVID-19 cases on a faster spread of variations.
"Mutated viruses have increased the rate of spread," Koca said in a statement, following a Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Committee meeting.
“A total of 41,488 cases of the UK variant of coronavirus in 76 provinces, 61 cases of South African variant in nine provinces, two cases of California-New York variant, and a case of Brazilian variant in a province have been detected so far,” Koca said.
Bugüne kadar 76 ilimizde toplam 41.488 B.1.1.7 (İngiltere) mutantı, 9 ilimizde toplam 61 B.1.351 (Güney Afrika) mutantı 1 ilimizde 2 B.1.427 (California-NewYork) mutantı ve 1 adet de P.1 (Brezilya) mutantı tespit edilmiştir.— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) March 10, 2021
“Though this does not affect hospitalization in a parallel way, it has the potential of [causing] more cases, more patients,” he said. “We still don’t have any other way to fight these fast-spreading variants than measures and the vaccine.”
Koca's statement came after the daily number of new coronavirus cases in the country rose to the highest level this year.
The number of new cases stood at 14,556 on March 10, the highest since the end of last year and nearly double from a month ago. The Health Ministry's data also showed 67 people died due to COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period, raising the death toll to 29,227.
The government announced a partial opening of schools, cafes and restaurants last week. Ankara also eased weekend lockdowns, after the number of new cases fell below 10,000 daily.