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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on Saturday evening that Iran has moved into one of its most challenging periods in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic as the British variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout the nation.

Pointing to the deaths of patients who had no contact with travelers from the UK, Namaki said, “The mutated virus has almost spread around the country,” ISNA reported.

“We must assume this variant can be found in every city, village and family. This is a serious warning for the management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the minister said.

The mutated coronavirus variant first spotted in Britain, known as 20I/501Y.V1 or B.1.1.7, is more infectious and one new research carried out by British government scientists has linked the strain to a higher risk of hospitalizations and deaths.

According to the head of Medical Council of Iran’s public relations, Hossein Kermanpour, the number of coronavirus patients are on the rise and ICU units are filling up fast.

“We need to increase our testing capacity and administer PCR tests along with rapid tests,” Namaki said. 

Health officials have warned that the start of a fourth wave of infections, more lethal than the previous waves, is imminent and cautioned against further easing of restrictions. 

The minister concluded, “Monitor the borders vigorously, take quarantine seriously and isolate even a single positive case of the mutated virus.”

***Vaccine Production 

Iran is set to produce one million doses of a local coronavirus vaccine by late spring, head of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s science committee, Mostafa Qanei, said on Sunday.

“We can’t produce more than four million shots of the vaccine per month,” he said, pointing out that by late June, the third phase of human trials for domestic vaccines will conclude.

Iran logged 62 overnight deaths on Sunday, pushing the national toll past 58,940, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.

“Within one day, 7,390 new Covid-19 patients were identified,” Lari said. “The new cases took the total tally to 1.518 million.”

So far, nearly 1.3 million have recovered from the respiratory illness and some 3,700 are currently in critical condition, the health official said.

She noted, “The number of Covid-19 lab tests crossed the 10 million mark today.”

Worldwide confirmed cases of the coronavirus soared to 109.1 million on Sunday and fatalities rose to 2.4 million.


Iran COVID-19 pandemic