The Eris variant, also known as EG.5.1, of the coronavirus classified by the World Health Organization as “a variant of interest,” has been detected in Turkey, the country’s health minister announced.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday that nine people in the country have been discovered to have been infected with the Eris variant; they are all in the same province and had contact with people from abroad.
The minister said there is no need for concern as the new variant has a lower potential to make people sick.
Koca attracted some criticism from X users who accused the minister of poorly managing the coronavirus pandemic and now downplaying the seriousness of the new variant without being aware of how fast it spreads.
WHO classified Eris as “a variant of interest,” indicating that it should be more closely watched than others because of mutations that might make it more contagious or severe.
The first detected Covid case was announced on March 11, 2020 in Turkey although there was strong suspicion that the virus arrived there much earlier.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was criticized for lacking transparency in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with the credibility of the country’s official coronavirus numbers called into question many times after the pandemic broke out.