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EghtesadOnline: A majority of Iran’s 31 provinces are once again registering a rise in coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry said, only weeks after the country passed the peak of a second wave.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced on Tuesday that infections are starting to climb in most provinces across Iran, lamenting the fact that “as the head of the taskforce to tackle the coronavirus, I know how much effort it takes to slow this rising trend,” ISNA reported.  

According to authorities, the populous capital of Tehran will be the top city to be hit by the new cases.

“Tehran will be hit with the third wave much sooner than other provinces,” said Alireza Zali, the head of Tehran’s coronavirus taskforce, noting that the increasing number of patients will introduce Tehran to “new circumstances”.

The health official maintained that the best way to contain the deadly pandemic is to extend the remote work policy to curb intercity travel. Tehran’s overcrowded transport system accounts for roughly one-fourth of virus transmissions in the capital.

“The number of patients fallen ill due to the respiratory illness has doubled this week in Tehran, compared to last week,” Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raeisi said on Tuesday.

Comparing current Covid-19 figures with last week’s, Raeisi said, “Daily cases have increased from 900 to 1,800, meaning the number of patients and hospitalizations have doubled.”

The official noted that some other provinces are also seeing rising numbers. 

“Iran will resume holding Friday prayers starting Oct. 2,” Namaki said, adding that we should consider the whole of the country to be in a “red zone” before doing so.

“We should assume that all the country is ‘red’, devise stringent protocols and observe social distancing to be able to hold Friday prayers,” he said.

To prioritize relaxing restrictions, Iranian authorities had split the country into three zones, “red”, “yellow” and “white”, based on the extent of transmissions.

Namaki pointed out, “I have announced to my colleagues that the ‘red’, ‘yellow’ and ‘white’ classifications are wrong. The zones can change status really fast, which can cause disturbance for the people and society.”

Some 2,700 tested positive for Covid-19 within a 24-hour period, 48% of whom were hospitalized. The newly identified patients took the tally of cases to over 407,300, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, was quoted as saying by ISNA on Tuesday.

She added, “Over the past 24 hours, 140 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, bringing the death toll to 23,453.”

Over 3,800 are in critical conditions in Iran and nearly 350,000 have recovered from the infectious disease, Lari said.

Labs across the country have carried out over 3.6 million diagnostic tests to identify new cases. 

Worldwide, confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus exceeded 29.5 million and fatalities crossed 934,000.

 

Iran Virus coronavirus