Health Minister Warns of Third Covid-19 Wave
EghtesadOnline: Iran’s death toll due to the coronavirus pandemic crossed the 22,000 mark on Friday, as the country’s health minister warned that public complacency could trigger a third wave of infections.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki criticized negligence in the face of Covid-19 outbreak and said, “I am concerned that a lack of care could trigger another wave of the disease,” ISNA reported.
Following the peak of the first wave, many among the public ignored safety measures, prompting a second wave that took the tally of daily deaths to over 200 at its peak. The toll has since dropped, with Friday registering 118 daily fatalities.
Namaki also pointed to the economic strain of the pandemic on Iran’s healthcare system, warning of a collapse should his ministry be deprived of financial support.
Over 2,000 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on Friday, putting an end to Iran’s six-day streak of below 2,000 figures. The fresh cases, more than half of whom required hospitalization, took the country’s caseload to 382,772, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Some 99 counties throughout the nation are on red alert, Lari added, noting that there are no longer any green, or coronavirus-free, zones in Iran.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the effects of last week’s travels during a four-day holiday will reveal itself on the number of hospitalizations within two or three weeks, and on the overnight death toll in four to six weeks.
Next week’s school reopenings and the looming influenza season will also possibly trigger yet another peak in the coming weeks.
Reopening of Schools
Schools are set to reopen around Iran on Saturday morning following a Covid-19 hiatus and a summer vacation.
Education Minister Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei assured the public on Thursday that his ministry will implement stringent measures to ensure the safety of students.
“Students will have a minimum of one meter distance from one another, and classes will be at most 35 minutes long,” he said.
While schools in provinces on red alert had been announced to hold only online classes, during the weekend many “red” regions informed that the physical presence of students are required, stoking fears of a coronavirus resurgence as millions of students gather in small spaces for long periods of time.
The number of recovered patients exceeded 330,000 on Friday. Over 3,690 are in critical condition and hospitalized in intensive care units.
Iran has administered 3.3 million Covid-19 diagnostic tests to track down infected individuals.
The tally of worldwide coronavirus infections stood at 26.5 million on Friday and fatalities surpassed 874,000.