ISTANBUL – Daily new coronavirus cases in Turkey surged 30% on Monday to 26,099, health ministry data showed, the highest percentage rise this year, as the health minister warned about the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Turkey’s daily case levels have been below or about 20,000 in December, down from about 30,000 in October. The number of deaths due to coronavirus fell to 157 on Monday from 173 a day earlier.
“The Omicron variant is spreading more quickly than the other variants,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter late on Monday. “You must be careful and get your booster shot done.”
At the weekend, Koca said that more than 10% of COVID-19 cases in Turkey were caused by the highly infectious Omicron variant. It announced its first six Omicron cases on Dec. 11.
Last week, Turkey’s domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine, Turkovac, received emergency use authorisation from Turkish authorities.
Turkey has already administered more than 129 million doses of vaccines using shots developed by China’s Sinovac and by Pfizer/BioNTech.