ANKARA, July 6 (Reuters) – Turkey has identified three cases of the new Delta Plus COVID-19 variant in three provinces, its health minister said on Monday, adding that the separate Delta variant had also been identified in some 284 cases in 30 provinces. .
Health officials say several major vaccines work against the highly contagious Delta variant, which is becoming globally dominant, but have raised concerns that new strains may escape some vaccines. Read more
Some scientists say the Delta Plus variant can be even more contagious. Read more
Turkey, which relaxed most restrictions on July 1, has reported nearly 5.5 million cases of COVID-19 and some 50,000 deaths in total. A vaccination program has reached over one million vaccines per day. Read more
“The Delta Plus (variant) was seen in three people in three separate provinces (including) one in Istanbul,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday. “These people are in good shape.”
Turkey’s vaccination program started in January with vaccines developed by Sinovac (SVA.O) and has since also used vaccines from Pfizer (PFE.N) and Biontech (22UAy.DE) and Russian Sputnik V.
Koca said Turkey currently has around 8 million doses and will receive an additional 26 million doses of Pfizer-BioNtech this month and 1.5 million doses of Sinovac next week.
He said Turkey intends to give the first dose of a vaccine to some 43 million people before the Eid al-Adha holiday on July 20, representing 70% of the country’s adult population.
“The vaccine doses received so far are sufficient and the ones we have on hand are also sufficient,” Koca said.
Turkey delivered 53 million shots in total with 15.92 million people receiving a second dose out of a population of around 84 million.
Reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Ece Toksabay, Jonathan Spicer and Philippa Fletcher
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