Chinese vaccine shipment arrives in Turkey following delay

Chinese vaccine shipment arrives in Turkey following delay
The vaccines have finally arrived to Turkey following a two-week delay.
3 min read
30 December, 2020
Turkey will commence vaccination efforts [Getty]

A first batch of coronavirus vaccines developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac has arrived in Turkey, after a two-week delay.

A plane carrying 3 million doses of the CoronaVac vaccine landed in the capital Ankara early on Wednesday.

The first shipment was initially scheduled to arrive on Dec. 11 but Turkish officials said problems concerning permits, followed by a COVID-19 case in Beijing customs and high alert against infections there, caused the delay.

Turkey has signed a deal for 50 million doses of the vaccine, which the country says has an efficacy rate of 91.25% based on early results of late-stage trials conducted in Turkey.

The vaccine will now be examined by two public health agencies before the government gives its formal approval for inoculations, starting with health care workers.

Turkey has also reached an agreement with Pfizer BioNTech, which is to provide 4.5 million doses of its vaccine until the end of March and the option to buy up to 30 million doses later in the year.

Turkey and covid-19 protections

News of the vaccine arrival comes as Turkey is tightening rules on those travelling into the country.

Turkey will soon require travellers to present a negative Covid-19 test result in order to enter the country, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Friday.

Passengers will need to present a negative result from a PCR test taken within a 72-hour window to board international flights to Turkey, Koca said in a statement shared on Twitter.

The new rules will come into force on Wednesday and will apply to all land and sea arrivals.

Travellers without negative test results will be forced to quarantine.

Passengers who have been in the United Kingdom, Denmark and South Africa in the past 10 days will have to quarantine on arrival regardless of a negative test result.

They will then wait seven days in quarantine until taking a second PCR test.

The UK, Denmark and South Africa have been the subject of travel bans in recent weeks due to new, more infectious strains of the novel coronavirus.

Turkey has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the world, with a current weekly average of more than 20,000 confirmed cases a day.

More than 19,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed a major blow to the already ailing Turkish economy.

Nowhere was that more clear than in Turkey's tourism industry, traditionally one of the country's most important businesses.

Ankara was quick to reopen to tourists this summer in an attempt to make up for months of lost income, and did not until now require passengers to take a Covid-19 test before arriving.

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