TEHRAN (Iran News) – Iran is at risk of the fifth wave of the pandemic as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads all over the country.
Delta, now present in at least 85 countries, is the most contagious of any COVID-19 variant yet identified.
The National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control started strict restrictions for two weeks as of Sunday (July 4) in 92 cities that have the highest rate of infection in the country.
Shopping malls, gyms, mosques, salons, universities, schools, libraries, kindergartens, cinemas, museums, cafes, zoos, and amusement parks will be closed for two weeks.
Currently, 92 cities are in the high-risk red zones (the highest category on Iran’s coronavirus risk scale), and 183 cities are in the orange zones, Alireza Raeisi, spokesman for the National Headquarters for Coronavirus control said.
Due to the surge in new cases, it is definitely necessary to follow health protocols and restrictions more to prevent the spread, he added.
The Ministry of Health has announced that the Delta virus has been found everywhere in the country, and given that the virus is very highly contagious, it can increase the rate of hospitalizations and transmission.
Unfortunately, the rate of compliance with health protocols in the country is less than 70 percent, and it should increase to above 85 percent to be effective.
Since the outbreak, the country has reported more than 3.2 million cases and more than 84,000 deaths.
Over 7% increase in mortalities in a week
According to the Ministry of Health, during the last week, the country has experienced an 11 percent increase in the number of hospitalizations, a 7.2 percent increase in the death toll, and a 13.2 percent increase in the number of cases compared to a week earlier.
Accordingly, Tehran has witnessed a 31 percent increase in the number of hospitalizations, and a 41 percent increase in casualties, and a 27 percent increase in new cases compared to the previous week.
Also, the number of hospitalizations and deaths has increased significantly in recent weeks. The incidence of hospitalizations and deaths is higher than the national average.
Sistan-Baluchestan province is also suffering from a severe wave of the pandemic, and the mortality of the province, which was further away from the national average, has climbed to the first rank in the country.
The province borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have had recent outbreaks.
The country has closed and reopened businesses and entities several times since last February due to the virus surges.
Mass vaccination against COVID-19 started on Iranian citizens with the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine on February 9.
While Iran continues efforts to mass-produce local candidates, several foreign vaccines have already been imported despite difficulties made by the U.S. sanctions.
Two homegrown vaccines have been approved for emergency use lately.
Over 4.4 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine, while only 1.7 million have received the second injection.