Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Secretary-General Professor Vedat Bulut has warned that the daily number of coronavirus infections in Turkey is likely to reach 40,000 in late August and early September if the figures continue to increase at the current rate, local media reported on Monday.
The country reported 16,809 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, marking the highest number since May, in addition to 63 deaths.
“We [the TTB] previously predicted that the figures would surge past 10,000 after the Eid al-Adha holiday. We again are making a prediction and say that they [Turkey’s daily infections] will reach 40,000 again at the end of August and the beginning of September,” Bulut said during a program on Radyo Sputnik on Monday.
Comparing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policies for the handling of the pandemic this year to those in 2020, Bulut underlined that the authorities made the same mistake as last year by starting to implement a process of normalization in June due to concerns related to the economy and tourism.
“The daily cases exceeded 14,000 [on Monday] due to the long [Eid al-Adha ] holiday and the refugee crisis. We were reporting daily infections of about 6,000 before the start of the holiday [on July 20]. … The pandemic is getting out of control in Turkey once again,” Bulut added.
Meanwhile Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday shared the latest vaccination statistics, urging citizens to receive their shots so as to prevent the pandemic from spiraling out of control.
“The rate of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases [in Turkey] makes it difficult to keep the pandemic under control. Disregarding [prevention and control] measures without gaining immunity through vaccinations can lead to painful experiences. Follow the measures, get vaccinated,” Koca advised.
According to the figures announced by the minister, more than 1.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Turkey on Monday, with 244,868 people receiving their first shot, 910,136 receiving their second and 212,868 receiving yet a third shot. The number of people who still haven’t received their first shot declined to 22,344,407, Koca added.
Koca announced earlier this month that healthcare workers and people above the age of 50 who had been vaccinated with an inactive vaccine, namely the CoronaVac vaccine produced by the Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech, will be offered a third shot to boost their immunity against the coronavirus and its new variants. The minister said people can choose between the CoronaVac vaccine and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine which was produced using mRNA vaccine technology, for their third dose.
The country of 83 million reported more than 60,000 cases a day in April, prompting the government to impose a strict lockdown.
But the restrictions were removed as of July 1, feeding fears that the new surge would continue during the summer.
Turkey has so far reported more than 5.5 million cases of the virus and over 50,000 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic on March 11, 2020.
More than 39.8 million people have received their first dose and over 24.2 million their second dose, according to official data.