COVID-19 cases keep rising across Iran. Islamic Republic Ministry of Health announced total of 733 Omicron cases have been confirmed in the country. Hormozgan with 122, Tehran 117, Khorasan Razavi 112, Mazandaran 74, Isfahan 67 and Markazi with 52 are the top provinces with Omicron. The spread of the new variant indicate that it is circulating across Iran. Khorasan Razavi admitted 153 new patients in the past 24hrs, bringing the total COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province to 350! Province officials say the number of Omicron cases are announced by the Ministry and local authorities cannot report them! Head of PR office at Mashhad Medical University admitted 3rd dose administration of vaccines has slowed down significantly and people are less interested.
Fars officials warn about the fragile COVID-19 situation in the province and increasing number of cases. Head of Shiraz Medical University expressed his worry over “normalization” of situation, less compliance with COVID-19 restrictions and low vaccination rate. He implied the current situation is the calm before the storm. Ardabil reported spike in hospitalization. Semnan announced 12% rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province since Omicron has been identified. An official from the medical university reported 25 “suspected Omicron” patients in the province. In Iran, only 2-3 centers could perform sequencing test and according to the Ministry of Health, there are not many test kits available. Health experts have been demanding the regime to accelerate the “active case finding” but daily tests continue to drop.
Gilan in the northern belt of Iran reports 4 confirmed Omicron cases with rising hospitalizations. Officials urge people to receive their 3rd dose as soon as possible. Ahvaz in the southwestern corner of the country announced the number of outpatient cases has multiplied by 4-5 times.
Furthermore, Tehran and other metropolitan areas, such as Isfahan, Mashhad, Hamedan and Tabriz still suffer from air pollution and use of Mazut! The low quality oil is used in power plants instead of natural gas. Its particles are large and dangerous for all age groups. Considering the possible Omicron wave in Iran, air pollution could add to the hospitals’ overload.
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic Science Minister emphasized on all universities to reopen their in-person classes in the next semester beginning next week, calling “in-person attendance as one of the main necessities in the country”. The final exams are still held in person. Religious gatherings such as Friday Prayers are running as usual and travel restrictions were lifted yesterday!
According to official data, since February 9, only 11,404,801 (13.57% 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 32 have died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 2,089 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Number of daily tests performed in the country continue to decline despite experts advice to have a more active case finding. Active cases begin to rise too. Professor of Epidemiology at Tehran University believes these numbers must be multiplied by 7 and Civil Registration Organization data show more than 317,000 have died of the disease since February 2020. Graphs illustrate the ongoing crisis in Iran and forming of the new wave.
Total: 6,212,387 (+2,089)
Dead: 131,972 (+32)
Critical: 1,533 (-86)
Active Cases: 23,782 (+94)
Total Tests: 43,069,904
Cover: Nasim Mansouri