Nine cities in Khuzestan are upgraded to “red,” the highest level of danger in terms of coronavirus spread in Islamic Republic Ministry of Health color designations. This change in color didn’t happen until after Sima Sadat Lari announced her daily manipulated figures and data. Khuzestan officials report 5 counties in “orange” and the rest of the province in “yellow” status. Provincial Corona Combating Committee announced all businesses except essential ones will be closed in red areas, including schools and universities. Employees are to work from home and only 1/3 are allowed to attend work in person if needed. Abolnejadian, head of Ahvaz Medical University said, “the situation in Khuzestan is dreadful.”
In the meantime, Hormozgan sealed off Ziarat village in Parsian county, due to soaring number of COVID-19 cases. Provincial officials report increasing number of infections throughout the province, blaming it on normalization, premature reopenings, gatherings and reduced following of health protocols. Alborz Medical University reported the patient with UK variant coronavirus died in one of their hospitals, and the entire hospital staff are under quarantine. That means Alborz and Qazvin, 2 Tehran neighbors with many daily commuters to the capital, have been exposed to highly virulent coronavirus variant.
Moreover, Dr. Zali confirmed the disease pattern is changing and “new mutations could happen any day.” He said the only way to control coronavirus is to vaccinate majority of the population. He added, the disease will not disappear, it will become an endemic and annual vaccination would be necessary. Deputy Health Minister Harirchi alluded to the mutations happening in Iran, he said, “It’s been more than 11 months the virus hadn’t had a mutation in Iran, it could happen at any moment.” However, Raisi, Deputy Health Minister in Health Affairs, had claimed the virus had gone through mutations in Iran which had accelerated its spread but not its fatality.
The second batch of Sputnik V arrived in Iran today. FDA Spokesman said the 100,000 doses will be distributed as soon as they are barcoded and registered. Jahanpur added, by the end of Spring 2021, when COVIran Barekat and other vaccines will be available, 10 million Iranians will be vaccinated. That translated to 12% of the population, while according to experts, at least 50 million should be immunized to achieve herd immunity and control the epidemic. Kianush Jahanpur added, the Cuban vaccine in collaboration with Pasteur Institute is to be tested on 50,000 Iranians in its third phase but it’s currently in its second phase in Cuba. He continued, it’s possible by the end of the Persian year (March 21), the Russian coronavirus vaccine is mass produced in Iran.
Sima Sadat Lari presented her daily undercounted statistics. She announced 58 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours in Iran while 7,298 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Testing remains in the same range. Active cases continue to rise as seen on graphs, to form a new wave of COVID-19 ravaging the country.
Total: 1,503,753 (+7,298)
Dead: 58,809 (+58)
Critical: 3,729 (-6)
Admitted: 159,930 (+1,083)
Tests: 9,938,625 (11.9% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Pouria Pakizeh