Istanbul: According to Turkish health experts, Turkey is on high alert and is stepping up its efforts to combat the new Covid variant Omicron.
On Monday, Nurettin Yiyit, a member of the Turkish Health Ministry's Scientific Committee and the chief physician at Istanbul's Cam and Sakura city hospital, said the Omicron strain has more spike protein mutations than ever before, some of which are alarming in terms of their potential impact on the pandemic's course.
"We need to observe if it spreads quickly, if it's lethal, and, most critically, if Covid vaccinations are effective or not," Yiyit said. "If the virus is identified in Turkey, we will place a high priority on tracing the affected patients' contacts and will announce fresh quarantine periods accordingly," Yiyit said. In his opinion, vaccine manufacturers' knowledge on the efficacy of their vaccines against this variation will be critical in the fight against the pandemic.
As a precaution against Omicron, Turkey has blocked its borders to passengers from Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Friday.