Overnight, 159 new cities were added to the list of “high risk” areas by the Islamic Republic Ministry of Health, comprising 86% of all cities, indicating an unprecedented speed at coronavirus spread across Iran. All 31 province capitals are categorized as red, which according to guidelines, require 10-14 days of complete lockdown except for essential businesses. While some “red” cities are abiding by the rules, some including Tehran are not permitted to enforce strict restrictions! Even though Tehran Corona Combating Committee has requested for 7-10 days minimum for the capital to be quarantined, and Chairman of the Committee called it a scientific and expert advice, Tehran Governor said it is out of the question because it is the capital.
Dreadful reports have flooded from across the country. COVID-19 cases are through the roof and coronavirus has shattered the records. Many provinces report 50%+ positivity rate in their tests. Majority predict worse days are ahead. Hospitals are reportedly out of vacant beds. In Tehran, for instance, Dr. Zali said 300 patients are waiting at the ERs for a bed! Dr. Tabarsi, head of Infectious Diseases Ward at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran, rebuked the government for neither implementing restrictions nor vaccinate people. He said if none of these two is done, there should not be any expectation to control this wild virus.
Dr. Ghane’ei, a member of National Task Force, in an interview on national TV, confirmed the the domestic coronavirus vaccines will be available to the general population from early October! He admitted to being behind other countries in vaccination process but refused to give a reason, instead went on about “production of vaccine in the country which is considerable.” It’s worth noting, there has not been any homegrown shot approved as of today. FDA Spokesman, on the other hand, claimed 2 Iranian vaccines will be mass produced by the end of spring and Russian Sputnik V will be manufactured in Iran in 2 months.
Despite the bleak situation in the country, religious leaders continue to defy science and insist on holding gatherings, especially during Ramadan. Following Islamic Propaganda Organization official who accused health authorities for being complacent in religious matters, Khamenei representative in Lorestan reiterated that coronavirus is not an excuse for closing mosques and demanded Ramadan gatherings to be held. “Imam Reza shrine” officials in Mashhad, the second biggest city in the country and in “red” status, has refused to close its doors despite a request from Mashhad health authorities.
On the other hand, Amnesty International released its report on how COVID-19 situation has led to ramp up repression in the Middle East, including Iran. The report confirms our earlier reports about Islamic Republic security forces arrest and harassment of healthcare workers and citizen reporters who voiced criticism of the government during the epidemic. Amnesty also warns about shortage of medical supplies in prisons, specifically mentioning political prisoners not being allowed furlough, coronavirus test or treatment.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson asked people to stay at home as much as possible and warned that in the upcoming days, number of cases and deaths will be on the rise. Sima Sadat Lari admitted the coronavirus UK variant is spreading faster than previous waves. She claimed 193 died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in Iran while 20,954 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The record-breaking number of cases since the epidemic began, is based on her undercounted data. Iran Medical Board dismissed those numbers admitting the real ones are at least 3 times more. Daily PCR tests remained in the same range but positivity rate reached 28.16% which is a record for itself. Active cases experienced the biggest jump in the past 14 months too, as seen on the graphs.
Total: 1,984,348 (+20,954)
Dead: 63,699 (+193)
Critical: 4,177 (+39)
Active Cases: 244,758 (+11,949)
Tests: 13,331,229 (15.9% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Maryam Kamyab