The risk of the coronavirus ran high across Turkey in the last week of 2021, according to the latest figures by the Health Ministry.
Ten provinces recorded a significant surge in weekly cases. Eskişehir had the highest number of cases, with around 825 per every 100,000 people in the central province. Istanbul followed with around 663 cases, a more than twofold jump compared to the earlier period from December 2021. Izmir, the country’s third largest province, also had a sharp jump, from around 68 to 323 cases. Aydın, Çanakkale, Muğla, Kırklareli, Edirne and Kocaeli also had high increases in weekly cases and all are located in either western or northwestern Turkey. The northern province of Gümüşhane was the only area from another region among the places with the worst surges in cases per 100,000 people.
The lowest number of cases, once again, was concentrated in the sparsely populated southeastern and eastern regions. Van and Ağrı, the two easternmost provinces neighboring each other, had the distinction of the lowest number of weekly cases, at around 2 per 100,000. However, the situation is alarming for the country which had seen a drop in weekly cases in 65 out of 81 provinces in the week between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24.
Factors vary in the surge, which was already reflected in daily cases that remained above 60,000 for most of last week. On Sunday, the number of daily cases were above 61,000 while fatalities were 173. December was one of the worst months in recent memory in terms of upward trends in the number of cases. The fast-spreading omicron variant is the main culprit in the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases, while authorities repeatedly called on people to take their third dose of vaccines for extra protection against the variant.