EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called for extra vigilance due to the rising number of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations ahead of Norouz, the Iranian New Year holidays (starting March 21).
“We need to follow health protocols more than last year to avoid a fourth wave of the pandemic,” Rouhani said during the National Coronavirus Headquarters’ meeting, his website reported.
Pointing to complications arising from multiple strains of the coronavirus, the president reassured the public that the government is planning to expedite vaccine rollout.
“The government has focused attention on purchasing vaccines. We’ll procure as many Covid-19 vaccines as we can,” he declared.
Iran on Saturday received China’s sizable donation of 250,000 Covid-19 vaccines, according to Spokesman of National Coronavirus Headquarters Alireza Raeisi.
The health official said, “Today, 250,000 shots of Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm vaccine will arrive in the country,” adding that vaccines will be imported from India in the near future.
Raeisi noted that the date of the arrival of COVAX’s 4.2 million doses of AstraZeneca will be announced in the coming days.
COVAX is a global initiative, backed by World Health Organization, which aims to secure the fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for low-income nations.
Third Experimental Vaccine
Iran’s third locally-developed coronavirus vaccine is set to launch human trials on Sunday, Agriculture Minister Kazem Khavazi told ISNA.
“Clinical trials for phases one and two of the experimental vaccine produced by Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute will start tomorrow,” he said.
Two other vaccines, both manufactured by the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, have already entered clinical trials.
Iran is currently immunizing its frontline health workers and the elderly against the respiratory illness and intends to vaccinate 1.3 million before the end of the year.
The Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced that over 7,900 had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in 24 hours, pushing the national total to 1.623 million.
She said, “Over the past 24 hours, 81 Covid-19 patients lost their lives, bringing the death toll to 59,980. More than 1.38 million have recovered from the infectious disease and 3,700 have been admitted to ICU units.”
“Iran has administered over 10.79 million PCR tests to identify infections,” she said.
Worldwide, coronavirus cases rose past 114 million on Saturday and the death toll reached 2.53 million.