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EghtesadOnline: Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced late Saturday that the third wave of Covid-19 infections in Iran has been brought under control with only 23 cities remaining on red alert.

After arriving in the eastern city of Birjand, Namaki told reporters that the third wave of Covid-19 cases has been contained, ISNA reported.

“Deaths caused by the coronavirus will decline and we will have a much brighter prospect in tackling the pandemic,” he added.

The minister noted that the number of cities on red alert has dropped from 160 to 23 and his spokesperson, during Sunday’s daily briefing, informed that 7,450 have tested positive for Covid-19, making it the lowest daily count in 46 days.    

The third wave hit the country early autumn, shortly after the second wave had subsided. Safety measures imposed in the past two months have significantly reduced transmission rates, with daily infections diving from 14,000 to 7,000 over the past two weeks.

“The freshly identified cases took the total number of people contracting the deadly virus to 1.108 million,” Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

“Over the past 24 hours, 247 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, bringing the national toll to 52,196.” 

Alireza Raeisi, spokesman for the National Coronavirus Headquarters, said adherence to health protocols across Iran has increased to over 90%.



Local Vaccine Rollout in Spring

During a meeting of South Khorasan’s coronavirus taskforce on Sunday, Namaki said that by spring next year, Iran’s domestic Covid-19 vaccine will become available.

Minou Mohrez, a member of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, contradicted the minister’s remarks, saying that it is not clear when the local vaccine will be ready. 

The vaccine’s research team, however, has announced mid-summer as the approximate date for mass inoculation against the infectious disease.

Namaki also pointed out that Iran will import “the most effective” coronavirus vaccine there is, but did not elaborate. 

Currently, Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine is the most effective, preventing infections in 95% of the cases.

Last week, the United Kingdom became the first country to begin mass vaccination with Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, followed immediately by Russia that used its own Sputnik V vaccine.

The United States will begin the process on Monday and Canada and Europe are expected to follow suit within days.

While several knowledge-based domestic firms are attempting to develop a vaccine against the contagion, only one so far has received approval to begin human trials by late December or January.

“Over 812,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness and 5,700 are in critical condition. Iran has administered 6.7 million diagnostic tests since the start of the pandemic,” Lari said.

Global Covid-19 cases soared to 72.2 million on Sunday and the death toll reached 1.61 million. 


Saeed Namaki COVID-19 infections