Sistan-Baluchestan’s humanitarian catastrophe deepens by the hour. Zahedan’s Representative at the Islamic Concultative Assembly who chairs the Health Commission as well, rebuked the government, and described the situation as “beyond critical.” Dr. Shahriari said mismanagement of the crisis has caused the Delta variant to reach Sistan-Baluchestan and spreads like wildfire city to city. According to him, hospitals are filled with COVID-19 patients and daily death toll is much higher than reported. Shahriari admitted the number of cases is 3-4 times higher than the fourth wave! Locals report long and consistent blackouts, lack of water, hospital beds and oxygen generators. One of the locals says: “Economic situation is so bad. People believe, what difference does it make if we die of hunger or coronavirus! Lockdown has no meaning here.”
Islamic Republic Ministry of Health sent in its “rapid response team” to Sistan-Baluchestan with more than 2 weeks delay. Another representative of the province had revealed that Health Minister did not even bother to answer Governor’s phone calls. The Governor says 10 cities do not even have a hospital and people have to travel a hundred mile to reach a clinic, 2 “Health Centers” are 1000 miles apart from each other and a 55,000-residents-county has only 2 general practitioners! Mohebati described the grim picture of health infrastructure in the province while people have to fight the fifth wave of coronavirus and many areas are even deprived of drinking water. Humanitarian catastrophe is the only phrase which comes to mind.
Other provinces are experiencing more or less the same situation. Deputy Health Minister Harirchi, in an interview on national TV, confessed that half of Iran provinces have begun to see the fifth wave, with a rise in their COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. He also confirmed that the dominant variant is the Delta (Indian). According to him, Tehran and Mazandaran are among those provinces. State-media report that Tehran would turn “red” from Saturday as well. Meanwhile, an official from South Khorasan revealed that Kerman, Sistan-Baluchestan and Yazd are grappling with the “Delta Plus” variant which makes the situation in his province very fragile. This marks the first mention of “delta plus” in Iran.
Hormozgan officials describe COVID-19 situation in their province as “beyond critical” as well. However, despite Islamic Republic President claiming all “COVID-19 restrictions must be implemented” according to each city’s color and “vaccination is speeding up to prevent widespread lockdowns,” Deputy Governor of Hormozgan believes long time closures and lockdowns are not possible due to economic hardships. Ardabil reported cases of Delta variant, too, confirming the spread of the strain all over the country.
On the COVID-19 vaccination front, Islamic Republic continues to perform poorly. Locals report long lines, chaos and disorganization of vaccination centers from across Iran. Official data indicate total of 6,150,053 shots have been administered since February 9, and only 1,707,634 (2.03% of the population) are fully vaccinated. Daily vaccination rate is on a decline again, since not many more doses are available. Islamic Republic officials’ empty promises and lies, once again, are exposed. The “domestic vaccines” charade continues, as the first doses of COVIran Barekat are administered in Ahvaz from yesterday.
While Iran Medical Board estimates the real number of cases and deaths are at least 3 times higher that the daily reports, Ministry of Health Spokesperson presents her manipulated figures every day. Sima Sadat Lari claimed 125 died of COVID-19 in Iran in the past 24 hours and 14,303 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As usual, she refused to produce any information about the variants. Daily PCR testing has been on a decline for a few days, as seen on the graphs, while the positivity rate jumped to 16.55% from 12.13% the day before. Active cases show a significant increase, too.
Total: 3,218,860 (+14,303)
Dead: 84,389 (+125)
Critical: 3,187 (+4)
Active Cases: 244,532 (+1,067)
Tests: 23,722,091 (28.2% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Mahin Mohammadzadeh