Türkiye faces looming wave of COVID-19 infections

People walk on a street in Ankara, Türkiye, on Oct 6, 2022. (PHOTO BY MUSTAFA / XINHUA)

ANKARA / SINGAPORE / HANOI – Turkish health authorities and experts have warned that Türkiye might face another wave of COVID-19 infections within a few weeks due to the rising number of cases in Europe.

According to a report from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 15 European countries are witnessing increasing cases. It's the first spike in coronavirus cases across the region since the latest BA.5 wave began.

The COVID-19 waves in Europe have often signaled future increases in Türkiye.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters last week that the surges in Europe "usually affect Türkiye within three to four weeks" and they anticipated that Türkiye would have a similar increase in infections

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters last week that the surges in Europe "usually affect Türkiye within three to four weeks" and they anticipated that Türkiye would have a similar increase in infections.

Vedat Bulut, secretary general of the Turkish Medical Association, said that in the past, most coronavirus subvariants in Türkiye came from European port cities and this trend may repeat.

"A pandemic today spreads much faster than ever, as the ways of transportation are various and faster," he told Xinhua.

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The expert warned that as the pandemic has not been over, and combined with the seasonal flu, fatalities may increase in Türkiye and other countries.

Erdinc Kara, a general practitioner in Türkiye's capital Ankara, said that more patients with COVID-related symptoms had come to seek treatment since the start of this week.

"People will be more indoors and that's a risk of spreading coronavirus. People should be prepared for immunity-dodging variants which may fuel an autumn-winter wave," he told Xinhua.

"Even if we have now efficient vaccines, the coronavirus is a resilient and serious threat to human health, and it is still causing deaths," he added.

Nurdan Kokturk, a specialist in pulmonary diseases at Ankara's Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, warned that if citizens fail to comply with established hygiene rules, "the winter season will be very harsh."

"Schools have reopened, and pulmonary illnesses have resurfaced in a worrying trend. We all have a duty to protect ourselves," she told the local press.

"It is proved that vaccines are very efficient to combat COVID-19 worldwide, therefore people should get their booster shots for efficient immunity, otherwise things may go upside down," this physician added.

Koca also said vaccination is the "most important measure" the public can take to fend off the virus. The minister called on elderly citizens and people at risk with chronic illnesses to get their booster shots without delay.

Since the first case was reported in Türkiye in March 2020, over 101,000 people have died, while the total number of cases amounts to a total of 16.8 million, according to official statistics.

A vendor wearing a protective facemask amid fears about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus serves a customer at a fruit stall in Singapore on May 8, 2020. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore reported 6,208 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total tally to 1,936,270.

Of the new cases, 502 were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 5,706 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the country's Ministry of Health.

Among the PCR cases, 485 were local transmissions and 17 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 5,497 local transmissions and 209 imported cases.

A total of 342 cases are currently warded in hospitals, with 13 in intensive care units.

The country reported a new death from COVID-19 on Thursday, lifting the total death toll to 1,625. 

Passengers wait to board a flight at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam on Oct 15, 2021. (HAU DINH / AP)


Vietnam recorded 1,130 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, down by 65 from Wednesday, according to its ministry of health.

All the new cases were locally transmitted, said the ministry.

The newly reported infections brought the country's total tally to 11,484,659. The country reported no new deaths from the pandemic on Thursday, with the total fatalities staying at 43,151.

As of Thursday, there were 76 severe cases in need of assisted breathing in the Southeast Asian country, according to the ministry.

Nationwide, 10,595,359 COVID-19 patients, or over 92 percent of the total infections, have recovered.

More than 260.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the country, including over 220.5 million shots to people aged 18 and above, said the ministry.

Vietnam has already recorded COVID-19 infections with the Omicron BA.4, BA.5, BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.74 sub-variants and is accelerating the inoculation of its people with a fourth vaccine dose.