Turkey on Wednesday tested the Chinese Sinovac vaccine on three volunteers in its first clinical trial, the country’s health minister said.

Another 1,771 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours bringing the tally to 296,391, Fahrettin Koca said at a news conference following a meeting of the country’s coronavirus task force.

Koca said that 1,342 patients recovered from COVID-19 over the past day. Meanwhile, the death toll in the country reached 7,249, as 63 more people lost their lives.

Healthcare professionals conducted 112,645 more tests to diagnose the disease over the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to over 8.85 million.

Turkey also raised filiation personnel to 11,238 from 6,000 to monitor spread of the virus, he added.

“Today, the world is in a more difficult phase of COVID-19 than at the beginning of the pandemic,” Koca said, adding that vaccine studies will show positive results by the end of the year.

Koca stressed 51.6% of the beds in hospitals were occupied, intensive care units are working at 66.3% capacity and 33.6% of the ventilators are being used.

Of those infected, 7.1% suffer from pneumonia.

Koca said the number of patients in critical condition has increased to 1,351.

Since it originated in China last December, the coronavirus has claimed over 936,900 lives in 188 countries and regions. The US, India and Brazil are currently the worst-hit countries.

More than 29.65 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeded 20.14 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.