UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS
By Burak Bir and Dilara Hamit
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey on Wednesday tested the Chinese Sinovac vaccine on three volunteers in its first clinical trial, the country's health minister said.
Fahrettin Koca said the vaccine trials will be held in two phases; on 1,200 volunteers in the first and 10,000 in the second. Health workers will volunteer for the trial in droves, he added.
"The scientific community is of the consensus that the vaccine studies will show positive results by the year end," he added at a news conference following a meeting of the country's coronavirus task force.
Another 1,771 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours bringing the tally to 296,391, he said.
Koca said that 1,342 patients recovered from COVID-19 over the past day. Meanwhile, the death toll in the country reached 7,249, as 63 more people lost their lives.
Healthcare professionals conducted 112,645 more tests to diagnose the disease over the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to over 8.85 million.
Turkey also raised filiation personnel to 11,238 from 6,000 to monitor spread of the virus, he added.
Of those infected, 7.1% suffer from pneumonia.
Koca said the number of patients in critical condition has increased to 1,351.
“Today, the world is in a more difficult phase of COVID-19 than at the beginning of the pandemic," Koca said, adding that vaccine studies will show positive results by the end of the year.
Koca stressed 51.6% of the beds in hospitals were occupied, intensive care units are working at 66.3% capacity and 33.6% of the ventilators are being used.
He reiterated the importance of wearing masks, keeping social distancing, and proper hygiene to stem the virus’s spread, asking people to follow these measures.
Since it originated in China last December, the coronavirus has claimed over 937,200 lives in 188 countries and regions. The US, India and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries.
More than 29.67 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeded 20.14 million, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.