Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases exceed 40,000 for 1st time in 8 months

# 31 December 2021 22:22 (UTC +04:00)

Turkey reported more than 40,000 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time over the past eight months, according to official figures released on Friday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

The country has administered more than 131.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched an immunization drive in January.

More than 56.9 million people have received a first jab, while over 51.6 million have been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said.

Turkey has also given third booster shots to more than 18.9 million people.

The ministry also confirmed 40,786 new COVID-19 infections, 163 deaths, and 23,968 recoveries over the past day.

As many as 372,516 virus tests were done in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Twitter shared a "New Year warning," saying: "Though there are no restrictions, we recommend that you act as if there are. We are in a time of increased risk."

He also called on people to prefer celebrating the new year with close family members only.

Koca earlier on Friday shared a written statement on the omicron variant of the virus. The statement said the rise in the number of cases originating from the omicron was mostly seen in Istanbul, with 52.3% of nationwide cases over the past 10 days also registered in Istanbul.

"While the number of cases has doubled across the country in the last 10 days, there has been a 4.6% increase in hospitalizations. There was no rise in intensive care and intubations," it said.

Saying that it is still too early to claim that "omicron is less severe," Koca added that "different mutations and variants do not change the measures that can be taken against the pandemic."

Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 5.43 million lives in at least 192 countries and regions, with more than 286.8 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.