EghtesadOnline: In a letter addressed to President Hassan Rouhani, head of 65 medical universities across the country warned about overwhelmed hospitals and overburdened health personnel as the highly contagious Delta variant of coronavirus rapidly spreads.
A large influx of patients and supply shortages have pushed the physical and mental capacity of healthcare workers to breaking point, the letter published by ISNA on Friday said.
“Negligence over health protocols and a lack of resolve to stop the disease factory … has caused feelings of isolation, hopelessness, and fatigue among health personnel,” the letter read.
The health authorities urged for the government’s support to keep the healthcare system afloat and efficient.
The Delta variant, first found in India, has spread to 29 of Iran’s 31 provinces and placed at least 285 cities on red alert.
According to a report released by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant is as infectious as chickenpox and even vaccinated people can easily transmit it.
Spokesman for the National Coronavirus Headquarters, Alireza Raeisi, announced on Saturday that hospitalizations were “rapidly rising”.
Pointing out that Iran will face a more massive wave of the disease over next week, he said, “Adherence to health protocols has dropped to under 40%.”
The official urged vaccinated people to continue wearing masks in enclosed spaces to stem the spread of the infectious variant.
Raeisi noted that he was happy with the speed of vaccine rollout. “We’ll receive seven million vaccine jabs by late August.”
Iran has lowered vaccine eligibility age to 55 and it is simultaneously immunizing five at-risk groups: public transport operators, prisoners, teachers, reporters as well as patients with diabetes.
So far, 9.5 million Iranians have received the first shot of a coronavirus vaccine and 2.6 million have been fully vaccinated.
During the last National Coronavirus Headquarters meeting that was headed by Rouhani, the top official looked back on his administration’s performance over the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commending the NCH’s decision-making, the president said, “In retrospect, I don’t see one decision that was made contrary to practical principles or world trends.”
“All our decisions were always based on collective intelligence,” he added.
The outgoing president also said that unilateral US sanctions imposed on Iran hindered his government’s ability to import masks, medication and vaccines, prompting the country to locally produce Covid-19 vaccines.
“Vaccine production is one of the greatest prides,” Rouhani said. “We’re one step ahead of our estimates … inoculating 55 year olds.”
The president had previously committed to vaccinating those over the age of 65 and high-risk groups before the end of his second term in office.
President-elect Ebrahim Raeisi is set to replace Rouhani on Thursday.
Iran is currently carrying out its vaccination campaign using a variety of foreign vaccines and two local ones, COV-Iran Barekat and PastuCovac.
The Health Ministry on Saturday registered 286 new deaths and 19,800 positive cases, taking the national toll to 90,630 and infections to 3.871 million.