TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran Extends Traffic Restrictions to Iraq for COVID-19 Considerations. Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs Hossein Zolfaqari said that the the Islamic Republic has extended traffic restrictions to neighboring Iraq for another two weeks. “Before Nowruz holidays, Iran imposed restrictions on trips to Iraq, which are now extended for another two weeks, except for trade and exchange of goods,” Zolfaqari said.
Referring to Turkey, he said that all tours to the country have been canceled since Monday except for cargo flight which are done in compliance with the health protocols.
The Iranian health ministry announced on Tuesday that 17,430 new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 174 patients have passed away in the same period of time.
“A sum of 17,430 new patients infected with COVID-19 have been identified in the country based on confirmed diagnosis criteria during the past 24 hours,” Iranian Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said, and added, “2,369 patients have been hospitalized during the same time span.”
She added that the total number of COVID-19 patients has increased to 1,963,394.
“Unfortunately, 174 patients have lost their lives in the past 24 hours, increasing the number of the dead to 63,506,” the spokeswoman noted.
Lari expressed satisfaction that 1,667,079 coronavirus patients have recovered or been discharged from hospitals so far.
The spokeswoman further said that 4,138 cases infected with COVID-19 are in critical conditions.
She went on to say that 13,256,820 coronavirus diagnosis tests have so far been carried out across the country.
Lari warned that 88 cities are rated red, 139 cities are orange, 198 cities are yellow and 23 are blue.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in January that 3 home-made coronavirus vaccines produced by the country’s scientists will be mass-produced and injected to millions of Iranian nationals late in Spring or early Summer.
“We can almost say that next year, at the beginning of Summer or the end of Spring, we will have three vaccines (developed by the three institutes of) Barekat, Razi and Pasteur,” President Rouhani said, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran.
“We will have these three domestic vaccines next (Iranian) year (which starts on March 20, 2021) and we hope to have some of them in the Spring and some in Summer, and from now until the end of the year, except for COVAX, which we will have our share of, we will import more than 16 million doses of vaccines,” he added.
Rouhani assured the nation that efforts are being made to start vaccination in the country in February, saying, “This is very important.”
He also stressed the necessity for meeting all protocols to prevent the spread of Britain-originated and South Africa-originated coronavirus vaccines.
Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi had earlier said that the country’s home-made coronavirus vaccines develop immunity against the new British virus too.
The home-made COVID-19 vaccines enjoy “satisfactory quality”, Harirchi said.
The vaccines are also effective against the British coronavirus, he said, adding that if the virus reveals new aspects, fresh research will be carried out.
Harirchi underlined that the Iranian private companies have achieved good success in manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccines.
Head of Iran’s Headquarters for Executing the Order of Imam (HEIKO) Mohammad Mokhber had also said that the volunteers who have received the country’s home-made coronavirus vaccine in the human trial phase have shown no side-effect yet.
Addressing a ceremony to unveil a number of home-made medicine produced by Barekat Foundation, Mokhber said that several people across the world have died after injection of the coronavirus vaccines produced by foreign companies.
“This is while the Iranian vaccine already tested on 14 volunteers has produced no side-effects until this moment,” he said.
“Given the laboratory research on this type of vaccine and the positive assessments of scientific aspects, the country will no doubt mass-produce the vaccine and we will grow self-sufficient in this regard,” Mokhber said.
He had said the country will mass-produce its domestically developed coronavirus vaccine within the next 3 months, declaring the start of the third phase of testing the home-made vaccine on volunteers.
Also, in January, Head of Pasteur Institute of Iran Alireza Biglari said that the country’s home-made vaccines will be ready for the nation’s vaccination late in spring if they pass all tests successfully.
“The Health Ministry is trying to provide the necessary vaccines from foreign sources for priority groups; also, really good efforts are being made to produce domestically-produced vaccines and co-produce them with other countries,” Biglari said.
“But regarding the domestically-produced vaccines, the most optimistic case is that we can have the domestically-produced vaccines for public vaccination in June if all plans succeed,” he added.
Biglari explained that Iran’s vaccine produced jointly with foreign states will go for extensive human trial phase in March, while public vaccination could start in June.
Rouhani said in June 2020 that over 1,000 medical centers in the country have received necessary equipment to conduct tests on people suspected of infection to coronavirus, and added that Iran ranks first in the Muslim world in scientific achievements.
“Based on a report [by the health ministry], 1,200 centers across the country are ready to take samples and tests from people and 17,500 nursing and health homes are also prepared to provide hygiene and treatment services to people,” Rouhani said, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran.
Also, in August last year, he said that 1,500 hospital beds for special cases have also been added to the capacity of the country’s medical system since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, noting that drug production lines are also added every month to the country’s pharmaceutical capacity.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting approximately all countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late 2019. It has so far killed over 2.87 million people and infected over 132.4 million others globally.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), former Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and most universities have been extended until further notice.
Rouhani on September 12, 2020 blasted the US administration for blocking the country’s efforts to receive loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight against coronavirus, saying that the American officials have forgotten humanity.
“We demanded the IMF for $5bln to assist us during the coronavirus outbreak for vaccine and medicine; all parties have voiced their agreement, but the US does not allow us to take the loan. They have distanced themselves from humanity to such an extent,” Rouhani said.
He added that even the friendly states whose banks are holding Iran’s money have been pressured by the US not to provide the country with access to its assets.
“History has not witnessed such a crime, as you may not find any other country that cannot withdraw money from foreign banks to purchase and import medicine for its people,” Rouhani said.
He, meantime, said that the Americans are angry with the Iranian government’s appropriate management of the coronavirus outbreak despite the harshest-ever sanctions imposed on the country.