Women in Tehran, Iran, August 4, 2020 (EPA-EFE)
UPDATE, AUG 10:
Iran has set a record for daily Coronavirus deaths for the second straight day, with the toll surging on Monday to 588.
The 7-day average has soared to 457, compared to 120 on June 25.
The Health Ministry reported the fourth record for daily cases in the past week, with 40,808. The 7-day average is 36,976, compared to 7,896 on June 9.
UPDATE, 0930 GMT:
Responding to the record toll of deaths and cases, President Ebrahim Raisi has called Health Minister Saeed Namazi and the Governor of Khorazan Razavi Province in northeast Iran.
Raisi told the officials to “use all available capacities to speed up control illness and to provide treatment and service to patients”.
UPDATE, AUG 9:
Amid its “5th wave” of the Coronavirus pandemic, Iran has set a daily record for deaths.
The Health Ministry announced 542 deaths on Sunday, eclipsing the high of 496 set on April 26.
The Ministry reported another 39,619 cases, surpassing the all-time high of 39,327 recorded last Wednesday.
Iran’s official toll is 94,015 deaths and more than 4.16 million cases.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting on Sunday, newly-inaugurated President Ebrahim Raisi called for the “maximum observance of health protocols” in ceremonies during the holy month of Muharram, which begins on August 10 or 11.
UPDATE, AUG 8:
In his first Presidential statement on the Coronavirus pandemic, Ebrahim Raisi has asked for plans within a week “to transform the way of fighting against COVID-19”.
Speaking to the National Coronavirus Task Force on Saturday, Raisi ordered governors and universities to send their “experiences of fighting the Coronavirus” to the Health and Interior Ministries.
He called for measures to mobilize volunteer forces and grassroots organizations to help the Government.
On Wednesday, Iran set a daily record for Coronavirus cases for the second day in a row. The Health Ministry recorded 39,327 cases, topping Tuesday’s mark of 39,019.
On Friday, the Ministry announced 458 deaths, closing on the all-time record of 496 set on April 26.
Iran’s official toll is now 93,473 deaths and more than 4.12 million cases.
UPDATE, AUG 4:
The Supreme Leader has supported a two-week lockdown amid Iran’s soaring record for daily Coronavirus cases.
Ayatollah Khamanei issued his statement after a letter from Health Minister Saeed Namaki called for the tightened restrictions.
The Health Ministry announced 39,019 cases on Wednesday, shattering the record of 34,591 on July 27. There were 378 deaths, the highest daily toll since May 3.
Iran has officially recorded 91,785 deaths and almost 4 million cases.
Ebrahim Raisi, who will be inaugurated as Iran’s 8th President on Thursday, is pictured this morning at a meeting of the National Coronavirus Task Force.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, AUG 2: Amid a “5th wave” of Coronavirus in Iran, Health Minister Saeed Namaki has called for a two-week lockdown enforced by the military and security personnel.
Namaki asked for the measure in a letter to the Supreme Leader, published on Sunday in Iranian media.
He said the 5th wave, with the Delta Variant, can be even more “catastrophic” and “irreversible” without action. Even if the country does not run out of hospital beds, Namaki warned, it will run out of medical staff: “Even though they are vaccinated, my co-workers are all becoming sick due to long bouts of sleeplessness and stress.”
The pressure is so high that I’m worried even this plan won’t be enough, unless we reduce the exponential load of illnesses through quick preventive measures and boosting adherence to health protocols.
The heads of 65 medical universities and faculties have called for a lockdown, writing the outgoing President Hassan Rouhani last week.
Iran’s daily cases have soared from an average of 7,896 on June 9 to 30,298 on Sunday. A record of 34,591 was set on July 27.
Daily deaths have risen from a 7-day average of 121 on June 7 to 314 on Sunday, with another 366 fatalities announced yesterday.
Iran’s official toll is 90,996 deaths and more than 3.9 million cases.
The Government has tightened restrictions. Travel is prohibited between 232 “red zone” cities and 117 in the orange zone. There are 99 yellow zone cities and none in the low-risk blue category.
But the measures are not being observed by many Iranians. A six-day complete lockdown of Tehran and neighboring Alborz in late July failed, with few businesses closing and the travel restrictions flouted.
The spokesman of the National Coronavirus Task Force, Alireza Raisi, said adherence to health protocols is below 40%, compared to more than 70% in June.
Iran’s vaccination rate has improved in the past month with the delivery of several million doses from the international consortium Covax. However, only 2.9% of Iranians are fully vaccinated, with 9.3% receiving a first dose.