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Turkey: Erdogan tests positive for Covid-19

Turkish president says he and his wife are experiencing 'mild symptoms' and attributes infection to the Omicron strain
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan going to welcome the Serbian president at the presidential residence in Ankara, in file photo on 18 January 2022 (AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tested positive for the Omicron variant of Covid-19, he announced on Saturday.

"After experiencing light symptoms, my wife and I tested positive for Covid-19," the president said in a tweet.

"We have a mild infection thankfully, which we learned to be the Omicron variant."

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Health ministry data on Friday recorded 111,157 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, the highest daily figure since the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the highest daily death toll of 233 in four months.

In late December, daily cases stood at about 20,000 but have since surged due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Turkey's coronavirus science council on Wednesday said the anti-viral pill molnupiravir will be administered to early-stage Covid-19 patients over age 65 or with chronic illnesses as of next week.

In a statement, the council said the Omicron variant now constituted almost all cases of Covid-19 disease, though the intensive-care bed-occupancy rate stood at at 68.7 percent across the country.

"We maintain our forecast that the current course of the spread will not strain hospital capacity," the statement said.

Countries rushed to buy Merck's molnupiravir after very promising initial results, but subsequent company data in late November indicated the drug was markedly less effective than previously thought.

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