UPDATE 2 -Turkey reports over 11,500 new coronavirus cases

Alaturka Saglik Haberleri

UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM HEALTH MINISTER

By Ahmet Gencturk, Merve Aydogan and Ali Murat Alhas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey on Wednesday reported 11,520 new coronavirus cases, including 689 symptomatic patients.

With the new cases, the country's overall caseload surpassed 2.73 million, and the tally of fatalities stands at 28,771 after 65 people died over the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data.

As many as 7,191 won their battle against the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to near 2.6 million.

More than 33.57 million coronavirus tests have been done in Turkey to date, including 138,018 in the last 24 hours.

The latest figures show that the number of COVID-19 patients in critical condition stands at 1,224.

In a statement on the latest results of Phase 3 trials in Turkey of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said its overall efficiency was 83.5% with a hospitalization prevention rate of 100%.

"Our experience also shows that hospitalizations are being prevented [via vaccine]," he added.

The clinical study was conducted on more than 10,000 volunteers, said Koca, adding that over 9 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in the country.

In a separate statement released after a meeting of Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, Koca noted that the vaccination push had started to reduce the magnitude of the outbreak in the country.

"However, it is possible that mutant variants of the virus are observed more commonly. As such, measures will be in effect for variants as well," he said.

Koca also remarked that the Health Ministry would report the frequency of virus cases for every province weekly and update a province-based risk map every 15 days.

"These reports will come out on the weekends and measures, if and when necessary, will be effective from Monday onwards for 15 days," he added.

On Monday, Turkey started easing weekend curfews, while continuing weeknight curfews to stem the virus' spread. The country also allowed more face-to-face education and restaurant dining, based on local risk assessment.

Since December 2019, when the first cases were detected in Wuhan, China, the pandemic has claimed over 2.55 million lives in 192 countries and regions.

Some 114.9 million cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries now over 65 million, according to figures by the US' Johns Hopkins University.

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