Turkish experts have warned that the number of daily COVID-19 cases might climb to 100,000 in a few weeks, urging people to exercise utmost caution and get vaccinated.
The country has been experiencing a surge in infections apparently due to the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. The 40,000-mark was breached last week, and the daily infections hit a record 68,413 on Jan. 6.
Experts noted that the number of daily cases tripled within a space of only one week, with the positivity rate climbing to around 14.3 percent but the deaths from the virus have not yet spiked.
In the face of the risk of a new wave in the pandemic, experts and officials are discussing possible measures to contain the spread of the virus in the weeks to come.
Among those ideas they floated is to reduce the capacity to 50 percent at indoor venues such as theaters, cinemas, concert halls and restaurants if the daily infections hit 100,000 as expected.
Moreover, experts and officials are discussing that only people who have received their booster shots may be allowed to enter indoor spaces. They also argue that the mid-term break at schools might be extended and that universities may have to suspend face-to-face education after exams.
However, Education Minister Mahmut Özer has ruled any additional measures at schools.
“Schools will go to mid-term break on time, we will not bring it forward. As long as anti-virus rules are observed, classes can be held five days a week. To date, none of some 71,000 schools has been closed and face-to-face education has been suspended in only 3,400 classrooms,” Özer said in an interview on private broadcaster CNNTürk on Jan. 6.
Depending on the developments, measures could be reviewed, he added.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca urged the public not to spend too much time in indoor places, such as restaurants and cafés, if people do not follow the face mask rule. Koca has been repeatedly called on people to get their shots but emphasizes, even more, the importance of the vaccinations, particularly the booster shots and anti-virus rules since the infections started to rise.
Nearly 21 million have been given their booster shots to date, while close to 52 million people have been double jabbed. More than 57 million others have received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.
Hurriyet Daily News