Experts warn of new COVID variants

The recent rate of spread of COVID-19 may lead to the emergence of new and vaccine-escapable variants, experts warn.

The number of COVID-19 cases have started to increase in Europe and Türkiye after China, India, South Korea and Japan in the last 10 days.

Experts point out that the number of cases is not seen in the official figures due to the avoidance of testing, but the number was much higher than the estimates.

“This rapid spread of the virus may lead to the emergence of new and vaccine-escaped variants,” professor Bülent Ertuğrul, an infectious diseases specialist, told daily Milliyet.

If face masks are not required in closed areas and public transportation until the end of the winter, the number of cases will continue to increase, he suggested, urging citizens to take personal measures in order to avoid disruptions to health services.

Pointing out that COVID-19 has started to spread “silently” again, professor Mehmet Ceyhan, the head of the Infectious Diseases Association, said, “We do not know the exact figures as there is not enough testing in Türkiye, but in the light of the information we have obtained from our friends and colleagues, the numbers have multiplied in the last two weeks.”

“Our biggest fear is that there will be disruption in health services as a result of the increase in the number of influenza and COVID-19 cases.”

Noting that there has been an explosion in the figures, associate professor Duran Tok, another infectious diseases specialist, said, “The number of people who had PCR tests has decreased considerably as they don’t care about the virus anymore. The vaccination process has also completely stopped.”

“Our main concern is that COVID-19 will mutate again and spread like it did in its first period,” professor Alpay Azad said, warning that the mask requirement should come back for a few months.

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