Coronavirus cases continue to surge in Turkey, with over 42,000 new infections recorded on Friday, up by a third on the 30,000-a-day average reported the previous week.
According to the Health Ministry, a total of 42,308 people tested positive for the virus on 2 April – the highest number of new Covid cases recorded in a 24 hour period in Turkey since the pandemic began.
It is believed some 80% of the new infections are of the British variant of coronavirus, which is significantly more contagious.
Some 3.4 million Turks have been diagnosed with coronavirus since last March, with over 3 million recovering in the same 12 month period.
Health officials said 2,182 Covid-19 patients remain in a critical condition, while Friday’s coronavirus fatalities of 179 took the nationwide death toll to 31,892.
The spike in Covid cases has meant most of the country’s 81 provinces are now categorised as “very high-risk” red zones, including Istanbul and Ankara.
It has prompted the Turkish authorities to tighten measures, including re-imposing of weekend curfews in red zones and limiting restaurant capacity to 50%. For the second year running, communal iftar meals during Ramazan, which starts on 12 April, are also banned.
Turkey’s vaccination continues to gather momentum. The health service has administered 16.1 million doses of the vaccine so far, which includes 6.9 million people who have received their second dose.
Health workers and older citizens were given priority among the country’s 83 million population.
On Thursday, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca (pictured top) told an online meeting of the World Health Organisation that Turkey was planning to introduce its own vaccine at the end of August or September of this year.
“Turkey’s domestic vaccine production work continues rapidly. We believe that we will produce our own vaccine in a short time,” he said, according to a report by the Anadolu Agency.
Main image, top, of Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, 4 Feb. 2021. Photo © Twitter / T.C. Sağlık Bakanlığı