New fast-spreading variant of coronavirus is spreading through Khuzestan, Qazvin, Alborz and Tehran, while the rest of Iran remains in high alert that it may reach there at any moment! Khuzestan officials report filled hospitals and commissioning new hospital wards to COVID-19 patients. Abolnejadian, head of Ahvaz Medical University, advised people to stay home and criticized health protocol enforcers for not implementing protocols as expected. He reported 1,120 walk-in cases in Ahvaz alone, setting a record for new infections in the past 12 months since epidemic began.
Abadan Medical College reported 5-fold rise in cases in the past 24 hours. The report indicated 180 positive test results in 544 tests in Shadegan in the past 48 hours, meaning 33% positivity rate. Dezful and other cities’ crowded markets remain hot spots and officials haven’t done anything to control the situation. Dezful is one of 9 red cities in Khuzestan. Mahshahr wedding venues are still open, hosting crowded ceremonies.
Other provinces record spike in infections and hospitalizations in the past 24 hours, including Tehran, Kohgiloyeh-Boyerahmad, Zanjan, Kermanshah, East Azerbaijan, Qazvin, Semnan, South Khorasan, Fars, Hamedan and Lorestan.
Head of Loqman Hospital’s Infectious ward said cases have increased 10 times in Tehran. Shokouhi suggested Tehran should be closed down before New Year holidays because the “fourth wave has begun.” Iran Medical Council Spokesman announced ICUs in Tehran are almost full which would translate to more deaths soon. Despite warnings and confirmed cases of the new UK variant in Tehran, the capital will host tourism exhibition 23-26 February. Deputy Tourism of Ministry of Heritage announced all hotels and motels will be open during Persian New Year holidays (March 21).
Hamid Souri, head of Epidemiology Subcommittee of National Task Force, admitted coloring cities has caused normalcy assumption in officials and people leading to premature reopenings, travels, different gatherings and ceremonies, and reduction in abiding protocols, which in turn would lead to increase in cases and deaths. Souri added, more testing and contact tracing must be done in Khuzestan. According to Ministry of Health data, however, daily PCR tests have remained in the same range. The epidemiologist claimed, although there are sporadic cases of the new variant across the country, but its effects on the new wave is not confirmed yet, even though the possibility of fourth peak caused by the UK variant is high. He believes Iran is in the beginning of the next wave and only fast and responsible response could prevent it!
Vaccination with Russian Sputnik V continues on small number of ICU workers and other healthcare staff. Contradictory comments and chaos continues on this topic when Deputy head of Martyr and Veterans Affairs Foundation in Health Affairs announced veterans with 50% disability, the ones with chemical injury and parents of martyrs are at high priority to receive coronavirus vaccine. However, Senior Advisor to Health Minister denied the news saying that’s a lie!
Ministry of Health Spokesperson continues her daily charade of presenting manipulated data. According to officials, real numbers are 3-4 times higher. Sima Sadat Lari announced 89 died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours in Iran while 8,011 had positive PCR coronavirus tests. Positivity rate reached 14.20%, an increase from 13.80% yesterday. Active cases jumped by 1,431 as shown on graphs.
Total: 1,534,034 (+8,011)
Dead: 59,117 (+89)
Critical: 3,696 (-8)
Admitted: 164,096 (+1,431)
Tests: 10,161,499 (12.1% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Mona Hoobehfekr