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Covid-19 cases in Turkey rise by 30 percent as Omicron spreads

Health minister urges people to get vaccines and boosters as the country sees highest percentage rise this year
A nurse prepares a syringe with the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine during a vaccination campaign in rural Turkey (AFP)

Covid-19 cases in Turkey surged 30 percent on Monday to 26,099, making it the highest percentage rise this year, as the health minister warned about the spread of the Omicron variant. 

The country's daily case levels have been below or around 20,000 in December, down from the 30,000 daily figures reported in October. 

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Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted that the Omicron variant was "spreading faster than other variants" but "the effect is not as high as the spread rate in hospitalisations".

The minister urged people to be careful and get vaccinated. Last week, Turkey's domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, Turkovac, received emergency use authorisation from Turkish authorities. 

Over the weekend, Koca announced that more than 10 percent of Covid-19 cases in Turkey were caused by the Omicron variant. 

So far, Turkey has administered more than 129 million vaccine doses using both Sinovac and Pfizer/BioNTech shots. 

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