The Islamic Republic Ministry of Health confirmed 43 Omicron cases from around Iran. According to Hashemi, acting director of PR office, 17 are from Tehran, 5 from Mashhad and Hormozgan, Qom and Yazd 3 each, Isfahan, Bushehr and Shiraz 2 each, Babol, Urmia, Alborz and Arak 1 each. Iran has one of the lowest number of sequencing in the world. At the same time, COVID-19 daily death toll continues to rise.
Fars reports a surge in cases and hospitalizations. Mashhad Medical University announced 6,200 outpatients during last week, which is 22% more than the week before. Dr. Derakhshan also reported positivity rate of 7-8% in the second largest city of Iran. West Azerbaijan recorded 76 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours which is another spike in province’s statistics. Dr. Afshani said 350 are hospitalized in the province.
In the meantime, an official at the Ministry of Health admits only about 50% of schools have been inspected for COVID-19 protocols, despite being reopened for more than 6 weeks. Farhadi also explained the “5 stages of smart quarantine plan”, in which the fourth and fifth stages, inter-city travels and schools, respectively, have not been implemented yet! Therefore, schools have reopened and inter-city trips have resumed without any precautionary measure. It is worth mentioning, the “smart quarantine” plan bans unvaccinated and people with positive test results from receiving social services, including banking services.
Farhadi admitted the schools with poor ventilation systems are hot spots for the novel coronavirus and said each school must decide whether they can hold their final exams in-person or not, a decision which National COVID-19 Task Force has mandated weeks ago.
Despite increasing number of hospitalizations and Omicron spreading across the country, Islamic Republic has even resumed “live concerts” which are held at high capacity and with no social distancing. Interior Minister is “waiting for more omicron cases” before implementing restrictions.
On the other hand, air pollution continues in metropolitan areas. Tabriz and Isfahan had to shut down all their schools due to dangerous air quality for all adolescents.
While medical professionals, and Mr. Health Minister, insist on 3-dose vaccination, official data indicate that since February 9, only 7,135,283 (8.49% 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 53 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 1,905 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 315,000 have died of the disease since February 2020. Graphs illustrate the ongoing crisis in Iran and forming of the new wave.
Total: 6,190,762 (+1,905)
Dead: 131,527 (+53)
Critical: 2,732 (-19)
Active Cases: 26,620 (-131)
Total Tests: 41,791,485
Cover: Mahdi Marizad