Iran fears “fifth wave” of Covid in connection with the Delta variant

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Tehran (AFP)

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday expressed fears that Iran would be hit by a new wave of Covid-19 due to a Delta variant outbreak in the Middle East’s hardest hit country.

“It is feared that we are on the way to a fifth wave across the country,” said Rouhani at a meeting of the Iranian anti-virus task force, warning the public to be careful because “the Delta variant” is out of the Had invaded the country south and south-east.

Covid-19 has killed more than 84,000 people out of over 3.2 million infections in Iran, according to official figures, which authorities admit they do not explain all cases.

First discovered in India and now present in at least 85 countries, Delta is the most contagious of all Covid-19 variants identified to date.

The Islamic Republic confirmed three cases of the Delta variant in the central province of Qom on May 5.

The Iranian Ministry of Health has classified the capital Tehran and nine other cities in the province of Tehran as “red” – the highest category on the Iranian coronavirus risk scale.

The southern and southeastern provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman and Sistan-Baluchistan are now also classified as “red”.

In red zones, all stores must remain closed except those that are considered essential, including grocery stores and pharmacies.

– Border controls –

Authorities in Sistan-Balochistan province announced on Wednesday that they had suspended border traffic with Pakistan until further notice, even though road freight was allowed.

Alireza Raisi, the spokesman for the anti-virus task force, called on Saturday for “strict controls on national borders”, particularly on the east side of Iran.

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Choked by US sanctions that have made it difficult to send money to foreign companies, Iran says it is struggling to import vaccines for its 83 million residents.

Just over 4.4 million people in Iran have received a first dose of an anti-Covid vaccine, while only 1.7 million have received the necessary two vaccinations, the Ministry of Health says.

“God willing, the vaccination situation will improve from next week,” said Rouhani.

Authorities in Iran have approved the emergency use of two locally made vaccines.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei received the first dose of a dose on June 25, his office said on Twitter.

“We must strictly follow all the rules that we have put in place for the red zones” and other virus-infested areas, said Rouhani, emphasizing that “if the guidelines are questioned or not followed, we will have a problem”.

The outgoing Rouhani government has drawn criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

Rouhani, a moderate, is in the final weeks of his presidency after serving a maximum of two consecutive terms.

He will be replaced in August by the ultra-conservative clergyman and former justice chief Ebrahim Raisi.



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