Turkey recorded 66,467 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily figure on record, health ministry data showed on Jan. 5, as infections surge due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
It also recorded 143 COVID-related deaths in the same period, the data showed. Cases in Turkey have more than doubled in just over a week as the Omicron variant became dominant in the country.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said the government was not considering new restrictions for now, urging citizens to get vaccinated and increase personal safety measures. Officials have also said schools would remain open.
"Despite the rise in infections due to the Omicron variant, there is no worrying rise in hospitalisation rates," Koca said on Twitter on Jan. 5.
Omicron varyantıyla birlikte vaka sayılarındaki artışa rağmen hastaneye yatışlarda endişe verici bir yükselme söz konusu değil. Öte yandan, hastaneler riskin arttığı ortamlar; kendimiz kadar sağlık çalışanlarını da korumak zorundayız. HASTANEYE GİTTİĞİNİZDE lütfen dikkatli olun. pic.twitter.com/1QBRKgqMtI— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) January 5, 2022
In a statement after meeting his coronavirus science council later on Jan. 5, Koca urged citizens to avoid crowded places, locations without ventilation, and long gatherings, adding there was no reason for concern yet.
He also announced a revision to COVID-19 quarantine periods.
"The quarantine period for positive cases has been set as 7 days. After 7 days, those showing light or no symptoms will end their quarantine period. In the event positive cases get tested on the fifth day and if they turn negative, their quarantine ends," he said.
He said those who had contacted an infected individual would be exempt from quarantining if they have received a booster shot or contracted the virus in the last three months.
Bilim Kurulu Toplantımız sonrası basın açıklamamız: pic.twitter.com/8752v4Ya2k— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) January 5, 2022
Turkey has administered some 130 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines using shots developed by China's Sinovac Biotech and by Pfizer/. It also started administering booster shots, and began rolling out its domestically-produced vaccine, Turkovac, last week.
President Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said his government would make Turkovac available globally, but Ankara has yet to release detailed information about the vaccine's efficacy or results from clinical trials.