Still reeling from the impact of the delta variant, Turkey is now faced with the risk of a new variant of coronavirus, omicron, making waves across the world. The variant, which has countries scrambling to implement new measures, has not been reported in the country yet but the danger is not over. The variant, more threatening than earlier incarnations of mutating virus according to experts, may still emerge in the country, as was the case with delta and delta plus.
The only measures the country can take now, as others did, is banning flights to and from countries with reported omicron cases. Experts say this is all the country can do now but warn the public to stick to existing measures, such as keeping social distancing, wearing protective masks and heeding overall hygiene rules, just as people should do against other variants of the deadly infection.
Professor Serhat Ünal, a member of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, which advises the government on measures against the pandemic, says the same rules apply in the country against the new variant and it was “the right decision” to suspend flights from countries where the variant was first identified.
“The most important measures are masks, social distancing and hygiene, along with vaccination,” he told the Sabah newspaper on Monday. Inoculation is essential for the country of more than 83 million people. A vaccination program is already underway, with more than 120 million doses administered so far. More than 50 million people were given two doses of vaccine, necessary to ensure the minimum amount of protection against the virus. Ünal said omicron was a variant of concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).
“As a matter of fact, viruses do not multiply if one person does not infect another. Without multiplication, it won’t be able to mutate and create new variants,” he said, calling on people to stay away from potential sources of infection, like crowded venues where people do not heed pandemic rules.