While Khuzestan continues to struggle with flood of COVID-19 patients and new UK variant of coronavirus, Fars, Hormozgan and Kohgiloyeh-Boyerahmad are next in line. Ahvaz Medical University reported full ICU capacity in the city’s hospitals, citing the high number of cases in the province. Director of Ahvaz Emergency Services said 898 patients were transferred between hospitals due to full capacity in Razi or other hospitals. Hormozgan officials announced number of outpatient cases has doubled from last week, warning in the next few weeks hospitalizations and deaths would increase too. Head of Yasouj Medical University predicted Boyerahmad county will be upgraded to “orange” status in the next few days due to increasing number of COVID-19 patients.
While the “color” of counties is not announced by the Ministry of Health for the past 5 days, Friday Prayers are to be held in all cities, even the previously known “orange” ones where any gatherings is supposedly forbidden, and officials have warned that the new fast-spreading and deadlier UK variant is circulating all over Iran. Head of Fars Council of Friday Prayers Imams announced the gathering will be held as did his Gilan counterpart! Capitals of both provinces, Shiraz and Rasht are among those cities as well.
In the meantime, Saeedi, Khamenei Representative in the city of Qom, the first epicenter of coronavirus epidemic in Iran and capital of Shia ayatollahs, told Interior Minister to allow Masoumeh “Holy Shrine” to reopen because it is “people’s refuge.” He added, “In a situation that physicians emphasize on hope and stress relief, people’s presence in holy shrines could address physicians’ concerns.” Closing of shrines during early epidemic created a chaos and a huge backlash against health experts. Since March 2020, the clerics continue to push for complete reopening of shrines.
While Islamic Republic officials had claimed Iranians will never be guinea pigs for foreign vaccines, some even stated that is why Iran is behind in immunization of the population, Khemenei banned US, UK and France made coronavirus vaccines, 100,000 doses of Cuban Soberana-02 vaccine entered Iran. These are to be tested on 50,000 Iranians for its third phase of clinical trial. This vaccine is to be rebranded as Iranian made by Pasteur Institute. Neighboring countries including UAE and Turkey have started mass vaccination from December 2020, immunizing millions of people, while in Iran only 300,000+ have received Sputnik V and Sinopharm shots, both under huge scrutiny by scientists around the world. Rouhani, President of Islamic Republic, claimed Pasteur, COVIran Barekat and Razi’s COVPars are being used on Iranians and will be available to public next year. None f the mentioned vaccines has even started their second phase of clinical trials yet!
Sima Sadat Lari announced her daily manipulated data, even though they have been criticized by officials. Iran Medical Council authorities believe the real numbers are at least 3-4 times higher. Ministry of Health Spokesperson reported 88 COVID-19 deaths in Iran in the past 24hours while 8,308 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Daily PCR tests declined significantly as seen on the graphs, while positivity rate increased from 13.25% to 13.71% in the past 24 hours. Active cases continue to rise.
Total: 1,723,470 (+8,308)
Dead: 61,016 (+88)
Critical: 3,818 (-5)
Admitted: 191,275 (+1,309)
Tests: 11,527,650 (13.8% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Meysam Allaghemandan