Turkey’s health minister has urged young people to get their vaccines against COVID-19, noting that the new coronavirus cases are mostly seen among this age group.
Recently, Fahrettin Koca said that more than half of the active cases in the country were found among people under the age of 30.
Turkey has been seeing a spike in the daily number of infections, which have remained above 28,000 since mid-September. Last week, in three consecutive days between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, more than 30,000 new cases were reported.
“Young people! Show us the way out of the pandemic. Set us an example by getting vaccinated,” Koca wrote on Twitter, also calling on young people to stick to basic anti-virus rules.
More than 46 million people in Turkey, which account for over 74 percent of the population aged 16 and above, have been fully vaccinated since the country rolled out its inoculation drive in January.
According to the data from the Health Ministry, nearly 55 million people or close to 88 percent of the adult population, have been given the first dose of the vaccine while another 11 million people have received their third dose.
To date, Turkey has administered a total of more than 112 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Koca separately shared the information regarding the weekly infection rates in the country’s 81 provinces.
The number of cases per 100,000 people was 252.1 in Istanbul home to nearly one-fifth of Turkey’s population between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, up from 238.3 cases recorded between Sept. 18 and Sept. 24.
Ankara saw the number of cases per 100,000 decline to 363.7 from 394.7 while in İzmir, the country’s third-largest province, coronavirus cases dropped to 47 from 49.
The eastern Van, southern Antalya and southeastern Muğla provinces had the lowest COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people.
Since the first case was reported in March last year, COVID-19 has infected more than 7.4 million people and caused the death of nearly 66,000 patients. Close to 7 million people have recovered from the disease.
The daily death toll due to COVID-19 has been hovering above 200.
Turkey removed most of the virus-related restrictions this summer, including weeknight curfews and lockdowns on weekends. Moreover, last month, more than 18 million students and over 1 million teachers returned to schools after an 18-month break under strict rules.
However, Ümit Savaşçı, an infectious diseases expert at Gülhane Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, warned that the cases among children have been on the rise.
“Children’s vitamin D intake declined considerably since they were locked in homes for almost two years and their immune systems have also been suppressed. They ignore the rules at schools and consequently contract the virus,” he said, explaining why the cases are rising among children.