EghtesadOnline: Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has declared a state of emergency in the western province of Khuzestan on Tuesday evening and asked the public to refrain from travelling to the coronavirus-stricken region.
“All government bodies should direct their resources toward Khuzestan,” the minister was quoted as saying by ISNA.
The circulation of the British variant of the coronavirus, a highly contagious mutation, has overwhelmed hospitals in the province, prompting authorities to set up two makeshift hospitals to accommodate recovering patients.
Rahmani noted that they have tightened restrictions in Khuzestan and added, “Abidance by health protocols has increased from 20% to 70% due to recent measures.”
Khuzestan has one of the lowest rates of adherence to Covid-19 safety rules across Iran and all 11 cities currently on red alert in the country are located in the western province.
Spokesman for the National Coronavirus Headquarters, Alireza Raeisi, said the trend of the disease in the country is different from that of Khuzestan, as “over 30% of overnight deaths come from Khuzestan”.
Authorities have ramped up efforts to contain the pandemic in the area, cancelling flights to and from the province and banning travel with private cars.
They have also increased the daily testing capacity, with one local health official reporting a record 14,000 tests administered in one day. The area will receive more shots of the coronavirus vaccine than originally planned to halt the spread of the infection.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned, “If three or four more provinces see transmission and death rates like Khuzestan, we’ll lose control of the outbreak and a complete catastrophe will occur.”
Covid-19 Daily Update
At least 8,500 tested positive for Covid-19 within one day, taking the total tally to 1.656 million, spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, said.
She said, “Over the past 24 hours, 86 coronavirus patients lost their lives, bringing the national death toll to 60,353.”
Lari said over 1.4 million have recovered from the respiratory illness and some 3,750 remain in serious condition in ICU units.
“Iran has administered more than 11 million diagnostic tests to identify infections,” the health official pointed out.
Countries around the world have registered a total of 115.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday and 2.56 million fatalities.