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Senior citizens and citizens with chronic illnesses should absolutely take protective measures: Turkish Health Minister

Senior citizens and citizens with chronic illnesses should absolutely take protective measures: Turkish Health Minister

COVID-19 can be deadly for people aged 60 and above in Turkey, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
In a tweet on Sunday, Koca said 87.2% of COVID-19 deaths last month were among people in this age group and people with chronic illnesses. “Our senior citizens and citizens with chronic illnesses should absolutely take protective measures,” the minister warned.

Daily COVID-19 cases exceeded 40,000 for the first time in eight months on the last day of 2021. However, the figures dropped to 33,520 on Sunday, while fatalities have long been below 200 and dropped further to 129. Despite the surge in cases, relatively lower fatalities are tied to the omicron variant, which is spreading in Turkey. Experts say that omicron appears to cause milder infections compared to earlier variants like delta, but they urge caution as this might change in the coming weeks when omicron spreads further in the country.

The elderly people have long been the primary victims of coronavirus but Turkey was quick to take measures to protect them in the early days of the pandemic. Senior citizens and those with chronic illnesses were subject to round-the-clock curfews for months. Curfews were later eased for them and in the summer of 2021, all curfews and lockdowns in the country were scrapped. Restrictions were lifted only after the country secured vaccine shipments sufficient for the eligible population.

Also in the summer, all age groups were included in the vaccination program. The vaccination program recorded a rate of 83.1% in two-dose vaccination among the population at the age of 18 and above, while the rate of people with only one dose of vaccine reached 91.7%. More than 132 million doses have been administered across the country. Osmaniye in the south has the highest vaccination rate while Şanlıurfa in the southeast has the lowest.

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