EghtesadOnline: The Health Ministry on Tuesday logged an all-time high of 709 fatalities driven by the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
The new mortalities took the national toll past 103,350 and a further 40,000 infections brought the case tally to 4.7 million, ISNA reported.
The dangerous variant, first found in India, has become the predominant strain throughout the country and overwhelmed the healthcare system, prompting officials to set up makeshift hospitals to accommodate infected patients.
Head of Covid-19 operations in the province of Tehran, Alireza Zali, pointed out that the number of outpatients have slightly declined.
“But the death rate in the province of Tehran is still high and the province is still on red alert,” the health official added.
At least 359 cities in Iran have been placed on red alert but the ailing economy has prevented officials from strictly imposing lockdown measures that would further harm businesses.
Zali also warned of the new Lambda variant that emerged from Peru and has since spread to over 50 nations and called for preventive measures that would delay its entry.
Tehran Vaccinations Reach 4m
The number of vaccines administered across the densely-populated province of Tehran hit four million on Tuesday, Zali said.
“[Monday] was the fifth consecutive day with over 100,000 vaccinations,” the health official noted, adding that more than one million residents of the province have been fully vaccinated.
Iran has accelerated vaccine rollout to tackle the resurgence of the disease. The country is vaccinating half a million people on a daily basis, mostly using the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine imported by the Iranian Red Crescent Society.
So far, 17.2 million Iranians have received a first shot and 6.4 million have been fully vaccinated, some 7.5% of the population.
Only three million doses of the homegrown vaccine COVIran-Barekat have been delivered to the Health Ministry for distribution.
With the climb in cases and deaths, authorities are working out deals to import more vaccines to contain the contagion and save lives.
In addition to the 30 million Sinopharm jabs slated to arrive at Tehran by the end of summer, authorities are negotiating to bring in 40 million shots of the highly effective Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as well as Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine.
Naser Ryahi, a senior member of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce, said they are in talks to import 20 million shots of each vaccine.
“The import of these vaccines will most likely happen under COVAX,” he added. The global vaccine distribution scheme COVAX was established by the World Health Organization and global vaccine charities.
Iran has received over four million jabs of AstraZeneca under the program. The initiative has struggled to make deliveries to low-income nations that are in dire need of vaccines to curb death rates.
Worldwide coronavirus cases jumped to 213.4 million on Tuesday as fatalities caused by the respiratory illness rose to 4.45 million.