“Quick spread of Omicron in Iran is expected,” said member of Scientific Committee of the National COVID-19 Task Force. Dr. Younesian criticized the government for lack of coordination between his committee and the National Task Force, saying he is “not sure who is member of the Task Force and how decisions are made,” but science must have a more significant role. He rebuked the decision-making process in COVID-19 management and said it must become more dynamic and dependent on the situation. The epidemiologist reiterated other experts’ point that in-person exams must stop, schools closed and remote working restart.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Republic Ministry of Health announced additional cases of omicron have been confirmed in Iran, bringing the total to more than 34! According to acting director of PR office at the Ministry, 15 are in Tehran, 5 in Mashhad, 5 in Hormozgan, 2 in Bushehr, 2 in Shiraz, and 1 in Isfahan, Babol, Urmia, Karaj and Arak. Hashemi claimed 8 suspected cases are “under investigation”, of which 3 are from Yazd, 3 Hormozgan, 1 in Bushehr and 1 Golestan, confirming cases from all over the country. It is worth mentioning, the Islamic Republic only sequences “special cases” in 3 centers in the entire country.
Deputy Health Minister in Public Health sounded the alarm for the next wave of COVID-19 in Iran dominated by Omicron. Dr. Heydari emphasized on people getting their 3rd dose as soon as possible. Deputy Health Minister in Treatment Affairs told medical universities across the country to be prepared for “explosive” flood of patients to hospitals. Dr. Karimi mentioned the new variant affects the younger population more. Meanwhile, Interior Minister is waiting for the situation to get worse in order to return restrictions. Vahidi said, “if Omicron continues to spread, restrictions will return!”
Despite all warnings, surge in cases among students and low vaccination rate, the Islamic Republic insists on “mandatory in-person final exams” and all businesses remain open. According to Rasht Governor, in Gilan capital alone, 8,500 adolescent have not received any vaccine yet! Fars reports a spike in hospitalizations, so does Kohgiloyeh-Boyerahmad.
According to official data, since February 9, only 6,344,796 (7.55% of Iran population) have received 3 doses of these vaccines. The majority of shots used in Iran are the ineffective Sinopharm and failed COVIran Barekat. WHO recommends 3 doses of Sinopharm to be effective against Delta but studies have found the vaccine ineffective against Omicron. It is worth mentioning, Khamenei banned US and UK made vaccines in January to promote his own foundation’s COVIran Barekat.
The Ministry of Health Spokesperson claimed 34 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 1,967 tested positive for the novel coronavirus, no sequencing details were shared with the public. Professor of Epidemiology at Tehran University believes these numbers must be multiplied by 7 and Civil Registration Organization data show more than 314,000 have died of the disease since February 2020. Graphs illustrate the ongoing crisis in Iran and forming of the new wave.
Total: 6,184,762 (+1,967)
Dead: 131,400 (+34)
Critical: 2,766 (-8)
Active Cases: 26,984 (-184)
Total Tests: 41,592,984
Cover: Afsaneh Jafari