Unvaccinated people are the most vulnerable, according to a member of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.
“The delta variant has become the dominant strain in our country, as predicted. Unvaccinated people are the most defenseless,” professor Afşin Emre Kayıpmaz told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday, urging Turkish citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“The delta variant is two times more contagious, causing concern,” he said.
The professor also said that it is a higher possibility for people infected with the delta strain to be hospitalized compared to other variants.
Underlining that the vaccines seem to be effective against new variants, Kayıpmaz also emphasized that people refusing to get jabs are the most vulnerable.
“The vaccines actively protect us against the coronavirus. The risks of death, severe symptoms and hospitalization are meaningfully lower for fully vaccinated people,” he added.
Adding that social distancing, mask-wearing and hygiene measures should continue as before, Kayıpmaz also said that “simple precautions will protect us from the delta variant as well.”
Fighting the coronavirus since March 2020, Turkey is intensifying its battle against the disease, implementing a slew of new restrictions that would target unvaccinated people.
“Only way to beat COVID-19 is vaccination,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a statement recently.
“I call upon every Turkish citizen to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said, later detailing the restrictions.
“During this school year, unvaccinated teachers and students will be required to get two PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests every week,” he said.
“We will also bring obligatory PCR tests for flights and intercity bus travel, concerts, theaters and cinemas, where people gather,” Erdoğan added.
As of Sept. 6, a negative PCR test will be mandatory for those who have not been vaccinated or not recovered from the coronavirus, to enter concerts, cinemas and theaters, a circular released by the Interior Ministry said amid a comprehensive vaccination program continuing in the country. A similar requirement is also expected to be introduced for schools and universities as Turkey is getting ready to fully resume in-person education in early September.
Public organizations and events will be able to check through the visitors’ HES (Life Fits Into Home, in Turkish “Hayat Eve Sığar”) code – the coronavirus contact tracing system – whether they have been vaccinated, recovered from an infection, whether the person is considered scientifically immune after having the disease or if they have a negative PCR test not older than the past 48 hours.
“If the person has not contracted the disease, or is not vaccinated, or doesn’t have a negative PCR test, they will not be allowed to participate in the event,” said the statement.
There will be also a negative PCR test requirement for intercity trips by planes, buses, trains or other public transportation vehicles, excluding private vehicles, for people not vaccinated or who have not recovered from an infection. Those without the mentioned criteria will not be allowed on intercity trips, it added.
The circular underlined that “the most powerful” element in the fight against the pandemic and to minimize the risk posed by the virus to public health and public order is a vaccination carried out voluntarily, as well as hygiene, mask-wearing and adherence to social distancing rules.
The ministry emphasized that the number of cases, patients and deaths caused by the pandemic are at low levels in those who have completed the vaccination regime.