EghtesadOnline: The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the capital Tehran could reach the 10,000 mark by Wednesday as the fifth wave of the outbreak surges across the nation.
“In recent days, we’ve witnessed a sharp rise in coronavirus hospitalizations,” head of Covid-19 operations in Tehran, Alireza Zali, was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Yesterday, we exceeded 9,700 hospitalizations in the city,” he said. “The tally will most likely rise to 10,000 by the end of today or tomorrow.”
Triggered by the Delta variant, the fifth wave, which has placed over 230 cities throughout Iran on red alert, is yet to reach its peak.
Data gathered by the Health Ministry on Tuesday showed that the virus infected a record 34,900 new people within 24 hours, a 75% spike compared to the early days of July.
The ministry also reported 357 deaths in a single day, taking the national toll to nearly 89,500.
Zali noted that they are setting up more and more inoculation centers to speed up vaccinations and reduce the rate of severe cases and mortalities.
So far, 8.4 million Iranians have received the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine and 2.49 million have been fully vaccinated, just shy of 3% of the population.
Iran has administered over 10 million shots since the start of the vaccination campaign in late February.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Tuesday ordered the extension of vaccination to five more at-risk groups starting Thursday.
As per the minister’s letter to his deputy, public transport operators, teachers, reporters, prisoners and diabetic patients are set to become eligible for inoculation on Thursday.
“Vaccination of university professors and seminary instructors should begin early next week,” the letter read.
Education Minister Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei reiterated on Tuesday that his ministry’s official policy is to reopen schools in September.
Authorities are immunizing university and school teachers ahead of the fall semester to reopen educational institutions after nearly three semesters.
On Monday night, Namaki drafted another letter, lowering vaccine eligibility age to 45 in eastern and southern provinces most vulnerable to the Delta variant.
All Iranians over the age of 55 are now eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine expect for residents of Tehran. To avoid crowding in the metropolis, only residents between the ages of 58 to 60 can register for vaccination until further notice.
Iran is vaccinating its population of 85 million people against the deadly coronavirus using a combination of foreign and homegrown vaccines.
Most Iranians have been vaccinated with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine. Nearly half a million people have been immunized with the country’s first local vaccine, COV-Iran Barekat.
A second homegrown vaccine, manufactured jointly with Cuba, will be added to the mix by next week. The vaccine, dubbed Pastu Covac, has an efficacy rate of 91.2% and it is 100% effective in preventing deaths.
Countries around the world have registered more than 195.5 million positive cases and 4.18 million fatalities since the pandemic began at the end of 2019.