No virus variant originated in Turkey, says Health minister

No virus variant originated in Turkey, says Health minister
# 26 February 2021 05:28 (UTC +04:00)

There is no new coronavirus variant that originated in Turkey, while the rate of infections related to the UK strain is rising in the country, the country’s health minister said on Thursday, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.

“One Brazilian, 49 South African variants of the coronavirus have been recorded in Turkey so far,” Fahrettin Koca told a news conference in the capital Ankara following the meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

He warned all citizens about the mutated virus as the infections are increasing day by day in the country.

Drawing to the ongoing mass vaccination campaign, Koca said Turkey is approaching the end of the first stage of the drive, with over 8 million people, including nearly 1.5 million having received the second dose, vaccinated so far.

“Turkey will have 105 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of May at the latest,” he said, adding that the country will initially receive 800,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine out of 4.5 million in 10 days, and efforts will be put to raise it to 5 million doses in total.

There is no supply or planning problem in the vaccination process and the second doses for all who have received the first dose of the vaccine are guaranteed, Koca said, pointing out that Turkey is among the countries that have been fighting against the virus successfully.

To avoid a possible supply problem, it is necessary to domestically develop a COVID-19 vaccine, the health minister stressed.

On Turkey's work to develop a local COVID-19 vaccine, Koca said the phase two trials may end in April and the country may advance to phase three in late April.

He also underlined that they aim to complete the vaccination campaign in April and May at the latest.

Koca also rejected the opposition party’s claims that Turkey gets vaccines from China for free.

“In a world where there is a war for vaccines, would a manufacturer company donate vaccines to a country for free, is there a rational explanation for this?” he asked.

“I underline, under no circumstances has an additional amount of money been given to the intermediary firm,” he said.