EghtesadOnline: The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Tehran Province has continued to fall, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said.
Harirchi said on Saturday that daily hospitalizations and deaths in Tehran have declined, but “the numbers can still be considered significant”, ISNA reported.
According to the health official, the declining trend is expected to continue in the next month or two with a relative increase in some provinces.
The coronavirus caseload has been alarming in the oil-producing province of Khuzestan, which elicited responses from both Harirchi and Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour on Saturday.
Jahanpour said, “Contrary to previous weeks, we are now witnessing a rise in patients with mild symptoms and a decline in hospitalizations everywhere, except Khuzestan Province.”
Hospitalizations are up in Ahvaz, the capital of the southwestern province and the country’s second city with the most slum areas where observation of social distancing guidelines poses a challenge.
Harirchi also warned against the rising infections in Khuzestan and pointed out that if business reopenings cause a spike in cases, stringent measures will be reimposed.
Iran began to relax confinement measures over the past month to minimize the economic fallout of the pandemic at a time when the country is severely affected by the US “maximum pressure campaign”.
Covid-19 Deaths Drop Under 50
Overnight fatalities from the coronavirus fell under 50 for the second time in nearly two months on Saturday, Jahanpour said.
“The outbreak claimed the lives of 48 in a 24-hour period, bringing the death toll to 6,589,” the health official added.
With 1,529 new infections identified across the country, the national total reached 106,202.
According to Jahanpour, at most 25% of daily numbers require admission to hospital and others are patients with mild symptoms identified because of the expansion of the screening system.
Iran launched its second phase of the coronavirus screening program in Tehran on Saturday, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi said.
“The second phase aims to identify patients carrying the virus and anyone in close contact with them,” Raeisi added.
Low- and moderate-risk businesses have returned to work but most high-risk workplaces are under lockdown.
Schools remain closed but according to Education Minister Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei, the coronavirus taskforce will make a final decision on the reopening of schools on Sunday in a meeting chaired by President Hassan Rouhani.
If the taskforce allows universities to reopen classes, attendance will not be mandatory, Harirchi added.
Wedding ceremonies and funerals are still banned in Iran.
The Health Ministry has conducted 573,220 coronavirus tests since the pandemic was detected in the central city of Qom. So far, 85,064 have recovered and 2,696 are in critical condition.
Worldwide Covid-19 cases topped four million on Saturday and the death toll rose to 276,000.