Iranian health minister calls on the military to impose a lockdown on the coronavirus pandemic news

Tehran, Iran – The Minister of Health of Iran called on the armed forces and law enforcement agencies to implement a two-week blockade to curb the alarmingly rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

Saeed Namaki may be replaced after Ebrahim Raisi takes office Next president On Thursday, Iranian media made this request in a letter to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Sunday.

He wrote: “The pressure is so great that I worry that even this plan will not be enough unless we reduce the exponential burden of disease through rapid preventive measures and strengthening compliance with health protocols.”

The minister said that if no measures are taken, the fifth wave of coronavirus infections, this time dominated by the deadly delta variant, may become more “disastrous” and “irreversible”, because even if the country’s hospital beds are useless When finished, it will also run out of workers.

“Even if they are vaccinated, my colleagues are sick from chronic insomnia and stress,” he said, while warning that the country’s health system may collapse.

Last week, the heads of 65 medical universities and colleges across the country also called for a lockdown in a letter to outgoing President Hassan Rouhani.

Since February 2020, Iran has registered more than 3.9 million COVID-19 cases, and more than 91,000 people have been killed in the deadliest Middle East pandemic in a long time.

According to the Ministry of Health, another 366 Iranians died on Sunday, and its figures show a 38% increase in the number of deaths from the virus compared to a week ago.

The more than 32,500 newly discovered cases announced on Sunday are among the highest in the world, an increase of 32% compared to a week ago.

A nurse takes care of a COVID-19 patient in a hospital in Tehran [Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters]

Loose blockade

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Iran has imposed multiple temporary lockdowns and work stoppages across the country, but most of them have been loosely enforced.

The government put the capital Tehran and neighboring Albertz Completely locked down Six days in late July, but it was considered almost meaningless because hardly any businesses closed down and travel restrictions were ignored due to poor implementation of the agreement.

Since then, the situation has gotten worse, but health officials have warned that the fifth wave of infections has not yet reached its peak.

The spokesperson of the National Anti-Coronavirus Working Group Alireza Raisi said on Saturday that 29 of Iran’s 31 provinces are now in the throes of the “delta” variant, and hospital beds are quickly being filled.

Hundreds of cities across the country are now classified as “red”, and color-coded grades indicate the severity of the epidemic.

Raisi, a spokesperson for the working group, also said that the proportion of nationally observing hygiene procedures that require wearing masks and keeping body distance has dropped to below 40%, and the proportion was higher than 70% less than two months ago.

In addition to other difficulties, the implementation of a two-week mandatory blockade across the country will definitely pose challenges to the Iranian authorities, because the people and businesses are under tremendous economic pressure due to U.S. sanctions and decades of mismanagement.

In an economy marked by an inflation rate of over 40% and a high unemployment rate, many people cannot close their doors.

But the final request for a strict blockade also runs counter to the previous remarks of the Minister of Health.

Namaki often praises the Supreme Leader’s guidance during the pandemic. He reiterated his statement last week, “Today’s world is in awe of how we control disease with God’s help and produce medicines, equipment, and vaccines.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei received a second dose of COVIran Barekat vaccine developed by a state-owned enterprise group [Official Khamenei Website/Handout via Reuters]

Vaccine rollout is accelerating

Iran’s vaccine launch has accelerated in the past two weeks as millions of doses have been imported after a lag of several months. Officials say this is due to US sanctions and missed deadlines by other countries.

So far, lancets have been imported from China, Russia, India, Cuba and the global vaccine project COVAX.

However, according to the Ministry of Health, in a country of more than 83 million people, only about 10 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

People over 55 can currently register for vaccination on the Ministry of Health website.

Officials said that so far, the country’s first locally-developed vaccine, COVIran Barekat, has received more than 500,000 doses nationwide.

It is expected that a large number of local vaccines will be introduced in the next few months to fill the gap left by weak imports.

There are several other candidate vaccines under development in Iran, one of which is developed by an organization under the Ministry of National Defense, one is developed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the other is developed by the private sector.

Barekat vaccine, two of which have been vaccinated Management Khamenei, Developed from a powerful organization led by the supreme leader.

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