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EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday cautioned against a new variant of the novel coronavirus originating in India and called for the close monitoring of the mutation.

“We’re facing another danger today and that’s the Indian variant, which is worse than the British strain,” Rouhani said during the meeting of the National Coronavirus Headquarters.

“It’s worse than the Brazilian and South African variants … If this virus crosses the borders, we’ll have a huge problem,” he added.

The Indian strain, named B.1.617, has a double mutation and it is likely responsible for the surge in India’s cases and deaths, with the virus-stricken country reporting over 345,000 infections and 2,600 deaths only on Saturday.

The Indian variant is currently being researched, but one of its mutations, the L452R, increases transmission rates by 20% and reduces antibody efficacy by more than 50%. 

India and Pakistan were put on Iran’s red list for travel and trade on Saturday to avert the threat of the double mutation. 

Learning from past mistakes, NCH Spokesman Alireza Raeisi also warned eastern provinces sharing a common border with Pakistan and Afghanistan to be extra vigilant about the mutation.

Despite banning flights from Britain, the British strain of the coronavirus entered Iran through its border with Iraq, first infecting the western province of Khuzestan before it spread throughout the country.

“I want the governor generals of [eastern provinces] and even the southern provinces of Kerman and Hormozgan to observe safety measures,” Rouhani said. “And to know that there is a heavy responsibility on their shoulders to stop the entry of this dangerous virus.”

The double mutation has been detected in at least 10 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. 

Online Vaccination Registration

Raeisi said on Saturday they are launching an online vaccination platform that allows people to register their occupation and preexisting conditions and be informed of their date of vaccination. 

“This website will tell them when they’re eligible to receive the vaccine. Starting mid-summer, we’ll inform people of their approximate date of vaccination,” he said. 

According to the health official, the website will later inform the public of the closest inoculation centers and when to visit for a second shot.

Over 584,000 have been injected with the first dose of the vaccine and 157,000 have been fully vaccinated. 

“Deaths caused by the Covid-19 outbreak spiked by 48% and infections by 17% over the past week,” Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

According to the Health Ministry’s report on Saturday, 374 Covid-19 patients lost their lives within one day, taking the national death toll past 69,000.

Over 18,200 tested positive for the contagion on Saturday, pushing the tally of cases to 2.377 million.

Worldwide Covid-19 fatalities increased to 3.1 million on Saturday and infections soared to 146.3 million. 


India coronavirus