National Task Force Spokesman admits the coronavirus in Khuzestan is out of control. Raisi said the uptrend in the province is steep and hospitals are struggling to serve every patient. He added, if the UK variant that is much faster to spread and deadlier than the Wuhan variant, involves all cities across the country the same as Khuzestan, healthcare system will not be able to meet the demand and deaths would increase exponentially. Deputy Health Minister in Public Health said, besides people easing on following health protocols, some local and national authorities are to blame for lax enforcement of protocols. “These actions are precursor for people assuming everything is back to normal.” He said the number of “blue” counties is reducing every day, making Persian New Year’s traveling a distant plan. Raisi continued if people don’t follow protocols more in the next 1-2 weeks, traveling would be impossible during the holidays.
The arrival of 4.2 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from COVAX is pushed back to late March, early April, when it was supposed to arrive by the end of February. According to Raisi, Pasteur Institute vaccine in collaboration with Cuba will start its third phase of human trial by late March, testing on 50,000 Iranians. He said in a year, “definitely the vulnerable groups, about 50 million Iranians, will be vaccinated.”
Khuzestan continues to struggle and National Task Force refuses to implement quarantine in the province. Ahvaz Medical University reports 74% increase in confirmed cases, 90% in hospitalizations and 45% in deaths compared to last week. Ahvaz Governor cuts power to downtown area and busy markets to prevent gatherings, a trick that might be not as effective as he thinks. Officials say they’re still waiting for Tehran to permit more restrictions. National Task Force convenes its weekly meeting tomorrow.
Hormozgan reports a new case of UK variant in Bandar Abbas. A 31-year-old with 70% lung involvement makes the 10th case in the southern province. 4 foreign sailors tested positive for coronavirus in Qeshm as well, forcing the dock to be closed for 2 weeks. The variant of these 4 is not yet known. Semnan officials reported increasing number of cases, upgrading more counties from “blue” to “yellow” indicating more risk in the area.
The Ministry of Health Spokesperson continues to present her daily manipulated data, even though officials have admitted the real numbers are at least 3-4 times higher. Sima Sadat Lari announced 69 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours in Iran while 8,103 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Daily PCR tests reaches 59,431, the most since the epidemic began in Iran 12 months ago. Active cases continue to rise as seen on the graphs. Critical cases follow the same trend.
Total: 1,615,184 (+8,103)
Dead: 59,899 (+69)
Critical: 3,720 (+8)
Admitted: 175,363 (+521)
Tests: 10,734,375 (12.9% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Alireza Mohammadi