Virus variants from South Africa, Brazil detected in Turkey for the first time

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Feb. 3 that the country detected two cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus and one case of the Brazilian variant. He said that all three patients with the South Africa and Brazil variants were being kept in isolation in hospitals, along with people they had been in contact with. The minister added that the number of people infected with the U.K. virus strain rose to 196.

This file photo shows people walking on Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue.

Duvar English / Anadolu Agency 

Two Turkish citizens have contracted the South African variant of the coronavirus while one has contracted the Brazilian variant, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Feb. 3. 

Moreover, 196 cases of the UK virus strain have been detected in the country, Fahrettin Koca said in a written statement, after chairing a meeting of the Coronavirus Science Committee. 

The patients have been isolated, he added.

He underlined some of these variants spread fast, calling on citizens to adopt precautionary measures and avoid large gatherings.

In the wake of rising cases once again, the measures against the pandemic will continue full throttle, he said.

The vaccination of citizens over 65 years old will commence after safety tests are completed, Koca said.

So far, 2.4 million people in the country have been vaccinated with vaccination for those aged above 75 underway, he added.

He went on to say face-to-face classes at schools in villages will start as of Feb. 15. Classes for grades 8 and 12 are expected to start in March depending on the course of the pandemic.

Turkey on Feb. 3 registered 8,102 new coronavirus cases, including 632 symptomatic patients, according to data released by the Health Ministry.

The country's case count topped 2.5 million, while nationwide fatalities reached 26,354 after 117 deaths over the past day.