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EghtesadOnline: Prompted by the recent decline in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths, the Education Ministry announced on Monday that some schools will reopen on Jan. 20 in regions with low risk of virus transmission.

As per the order of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, first- and second-grade students of primary schools located in regions color-coded as blue and yellow can physically attend school for the second semester, IRNA reported.

“Primary and junior high schools with a pupil population of below 50 in blue regions are allowed to reopen,” the ministry announced.

Vocational schools can also resume face-to-face learning in classes with 10 or fewer students. School personnel are also required to attend classes in all regions, except those on red alert.

Daily deaths caused by the Covid-19 outbreak have dropped by over 70% in the past month in Iran, as the third wave of infections subsided, encouraging authorities to gradually lift precautionary measures. 

Over the past 10 days, SARS-CoV-2 has infected 255 and killed four every hour.



Vaccine Imports Ahead of New Year

A first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in Iran before the Iranian New Year holidays (starting on March 21) from a shortlist of three countries, China, Russia or India, the head of Iran’s Medical Council, Mohammad Reza Zafarqandi, was quoted as saying by ISNA.

“Two million vaccine shots are set to be imported before the end of the year from multiple sources,” he said. “That’s because joint efforts with Cuba and domestic production of a vaccine needs more time.”

Cuba has agreed to transfer the technology for its most promising Covid-19 vaccine candidate to Iran to begin its third phase of human testing on 30,000 Iranians. 

Zafarqandi pointed out, “The development of this vaccine will most likely take another three months.”

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Friday banned the government from purchasing Covid-19 vaccines developed by the United States and the United Kingdom.

According to Zafarqandi, the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is manufactured in Sweden and only the scientific research on it has been conducted in the UK.

“It costs five to six dollars; we have the equipment for its transfer and it’s being produced in China, Russia and India under a licensing agreement,” he said, adding that Iran is planning to purchase the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Some 6,200 tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, increasing the tally of cases to 1.292 million, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.

“Over the past 24 hours, Covid-19 claimed the lives of 91 patients, taking the national death toll to 56,262,” she added.

Lari noted that Iran has performed more than 8.2 million PCR tests since the start of the pandemic. 

“Over 1.08 million have recovered from Covid-19 and 4,568 are in critical condition,” she added.

More than 90.7 million across the world have contracted the infectious disease that has killed 1.94 million so far.



School coronavirus Low-Risk Regions