The number of Iranians testing positive for coronavirus has risen sharply to almost 22,000 in the past 24 hours, with 30 members of parliament reportedly among them.
Abolfazl Abu Torabi, the MP for Najafabad, confirmed the news about his colleagues, adding: “The Presidium of the parliament has urged all deputies to take a coronavirus test."
The true number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher because of low testing capacity in Iran. Health officials have also issued fresh warnings about hospitals becoming overwhelmed.
Cases of infection with the Omicron variant have now been detected in 22 of Iran’s 31 provinces. Nader Tavakoli, deputy clinical head of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, confirmed the province was seeing a “sixth wave” of transmission.
He added: “The number of outpatients coming to hospitals has reached 6,000 per day. The difference between this peak and the previous one is that incidence is higher, but fortunately, the severity of the disease is lower.”
Tavakoli told ISNA news agency that of those who presented at hospitals in Tehran, around 300 to 400 new patients were being admitted to hospital per day. About a quarter of those currently in hospital were in ICUs, he said.
Payam Tabarsi, head of the infectious diseases unit at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, also warned that hospitals could be "saturated with Covid-19 patients again”.
Ministy of Health officials have pronounced the cities of Kashan in Isfahan, Ferdows in South Khorasan, Qom, and Abarkooh, Ardakan, Khatam, and Mehriz in Yazd as being on “red alert” for high transmission rates. The number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Gilan province has also doubled.
According to the Ministry of Health, 21,996 people tested positive for coronavirus in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday. In the same period, 44 Covid-19 patients lost their lives.