EghtesadOnline: Iran braces for a fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic as cases and hospitalizations soar and health authorities urge vigilance to curb transmission rates.
Latest data collected by the Health Ministry showed that 63 cities across the country have been placed on red alert and that the fifth wave of the pandemic is slowly spreading from southern regions to central and northern areas, ISNA reported.
“Tehran is also getting ready for a fifth wave,” the province’s governor-general, Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpey, told reporters on Monday.
“Hospitalizations in general wards and ICU units in Tehran are slowly increasing,” Bandpey said, noting that identifying the type of mutation that is spreading can help authorities better prepare for the fifth peak.
Head of Tehran’s coronavirus taskforce, Alireza Zali, also pointed out that several cities in the province have been coded as red and that it is vital to determine which variant is closing in on the capital.
Hospitalizations have spiked in the province, making Tehran’s status change from orange to red a “certainty”, according to Health Ministry reports.
Delta Variant Spreads
Several patients in the eastern city of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, tested positive for the highly infectious Delta variant first found in India, an official with the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (MUMS) said.
“The patients’ test results have been sent to Tehran for final confirmation,” Mahdi Qelian said, adding that the mutation’s spread in southern provinces has raised concerns about another peak.
Many countries around the world have recorded a sharp rise in cases involving the Delta variant. The variant’s dominance more than doubled in Germany in one week.
Another health official with the MUMS, Rozita Khodashahi, said the Indian mutation is the dominant variant in Iran and that every person infected with the strain could transmit the virus to 12 other people.
Khodashahi warned, “You can be sure that Mashhad will be placed on red alert within ten days. Infections and hospitalizations are rising.”
According to the official, vaccination can reduce the disease’s severity and significantly cut hospitalizations and deaths. Some 5% of the country’s population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Iran reported 12,700 new cases and 142 fatalities on Tuesday. The tally of cases and deaths are expected to rise over the next month. During the peak of the fourth wave, authorities registered a peak of 25,600 infections and 500 fatalities in a single day.
Worldwide Covid-19 cases spiked to 182.2 million on Tuesday and fatalities caused by the outbreak reached 3.94 million.