National Task Force Spokesman claims coronavirus spread has slowed down in 25 provinces and only Tehran and 5 other must be more vigilant. According to Dr. Raisi, Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, Hormozgan, Sistan-Baluchestan and South Khorasan have not reached the peak of the fourth wave while 10 provinces have already passed it. He added, 80% of cases have been identified as the UK variant and warned Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman, Bushehr and Hormozgan must be vigilant about South African strain of the virus as it may be on its way! Health Minister had already confirmed 3 cases of South African variant in Iran.
While Indian variant has been the top news in Iran and around the world for devastating the subcontinent, Islamic Republic officials remain loose about the possibility of it being in the country and how to prevent its spread. They claim the borders are closed but even though Turkey is in quarantine for 3-weeks, tour tickets are being sold across Iran. Khuzestan officials also confirmed there is no restrictions on the ports and which ships could dock!
Despite Raisi’s reassurance and manipulated data of Ministry of Health showing decline in cases and hospitalizations across the country, Hormozgan officials report 5 times increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the province from just last week! Khorasan Razavi authorities warn the upward trend continues. Lorestan official warns about Indian and South African variants, reporting the death rate in his province to be high. Fars Medical University cautions residents the fourth wave is not finished yet! Kohgiloyeh-Boyerahmad Governor says if protocols are not followed, there would be COVID-19 massacre on the streets.
Tonight was the first of 3 Qadr nights in Iran. Crowded gatherings to pray, which despite all gloomy reports and full hospitals were allowed by the Health Minister. According to local reports, many rituals in small mosques did not follow the protocols. Many health experts have expressed their concern over these gatherings and Eid Fitr, which led to a new wave last year. This year, the Islamic Republic sham “elections” gatherings are an additional concern for many, including head of Yasouj Medical University.
On the other hand, merchants frustrated with double standard restrictions and continuous waves of coronavirus in the country without proper prevention and financial support for quarantines, have decided to defy the restrictions and reopened their shops.
The very slow vaccination process is an additional cause for concern for everybody. Since February 9, only 211,822 (0.25% of population) have been fully vaccinated. Director General of Welfare Organization Care Centers rebuked the slow vaccination and estimated at current rate it would take 75 days just to complete the first phase of “National Vaccination Guideline” which according to some officials have already finished! Seraj said, only 24.6% of the residents and staff of centers under his care have receive a COVID-19 shot. It is worth noting, Islamic Republic officials had promised to complete the first phase by March 20 by vaccinating 1.3 million people.
Head of the FDA admitted their predictions about imported vaccines have been way off and only 1/4 of what had been promised was delivered. Dr. Shanehsaz confessed he is not sure how many of the vaccines they have agreed upon with foreign manufacturers will be delivered on time! On the other hand, head of Pasteur Institute reported 80% efficacy of the conjugated Cuban vaccine with 2 dose and close to 100% with a booster. However, he didn’t give much data to support his claim but said “this is how much it creates antibody in the vaccinated person,” which is even more confusing to interpret.
Islamic Republic President also showed how much he knows about vaccines and COVID-19. Hassan Rouhani, in the weekly National Task Force meeting said, “Getting vaccinated is better than not receiving the shot, even though the vaccines are only 90% effective.” There also has been reports of medical students waiting in line for hours to no avail to receive a jab.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson claimed 332 died of COVID-19 in Iran in the past 24hours, while 17,080 tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The Ministry does not provide any specific data on variants or even if there is any sequencing done on samples. The daily reported numbers, according to Iran Medical Board officials, are at least 3 times lower than reality in hospitals. Critical and active cases continue to rise as seen on the graphs.
Total: 2,516,157 (+17,080)
Dead: 72,090 (+332)
Critical: 5,421 (+23)
Active Cases: 473,003 (+5)
Tests: 15,961,178 (19.0% of the population, assuming each test was performed on 1 person)
Cover: Ali Abdollahi – Qadr night in Mashhad, May 1, 2021