July 2 – July 8, 2021:

On the last day of the Iranian week ending Thursday, July 8, the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Iran suddenly exceeded 23,000. While the Delta variant has been fueling the fifth wave of coronavirus infections, Iran’s vaccination program has remained steeped in a quagmire of mismanagement.

Once in a while, shipments of Covid-19 vaccines do find their way inside Iran’s borders. But most do not bear a brand name, or the name of the country of origin. Official figures state that nine million doses have been imported so far, while the number of domestically-made vaccines distributed is lost in a thicket of contradictory statements and reports.

In the meantime, Iranians have grown tired of two months of unfulfilled promises about vaccinations. Those who can afford it are now traveling en masse to neighboring countries to get their first shot.

Four-Star Hotels and Two Doses: Iranians’ Vaccine Tourism

Armenia, Iran’s northern neighbor, has long been a favorite holiday destination for Iranians. Now travel agencies have been able to entice them in the country with the promise of the Covid-19 vaccines denied to them at home.

Iranian officials, of course, are trying to discourage people. Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, bitterly tweeted claiming the only reason the doses were on offer was because Armenia was struggling to vaccinate its own population.

The manager of a travel agency in northern Iran told IranWire that before Armenia started offering free vaccinations, his firm was arranging two to three tour groups to the country a month. This has now gone up to five, and most firms are now booked up for the rest of the summer.

In his experience, half of those who signed up were doing it for the vaccine. “[Iranians in] northern and north-western provinces have the advantage of being able to travel to Armenia by land,” he said, “so our buses get filled up very quickly.”

Whenever a customer calls, he said, they now have more questions about the brands of vaccine on offer in Armenia than the sightseeing. Tours cost 3.5 million tomans ($850) and can go up to five million [$1200], depending on the price of the dollar.

“On the tour that left today [July 8],” the tour operator said, “we had travelers from provinces of Gilan, Tehran, Zanjan, Qazvin, Mazandaran and East Azerbaijan.

“Travelers do also ask about the second dose. We’ve even had cases where they booked a slot on a second tour in two or three months’ time. The good part is that they travel twice and pay around 10 million tomans [$2,400]. And they stay at four-star hotels, which makes it feel like a bargain. I’ve not had a chance to go on one of these trips myself, but our tour guides have, and they’ve been vaccinated.”

That said, the bookings have dwindled somewhat after critical reports in Iranian media and the government’s terse reaction. On Tuesday, July 6, the Armenian ambassador to Tehran announced that from July 15, travelers who stayed for fewer than 10 days in Armenia would not receive a vaccinated.

“There’s a week left until the new rule takes effect,” a 35-year-old tour guide with the agency told IranWire. She had her first AstraZenica shot in Armenia on May 14, and is hoping to return soon for the second. “Perhaps the shock reduced the number of travelers,” she said, “but it seems that this week there might another rush.

“The regulations make it more difficult for low-income people. But if you have money, what difference does it make whether the tour’s three days or 10?”

It was last December that the firm first began offering “vaccine tours” to other countries. It was instantly ordered not to mention vaccines in its advertising posters, but continued to do so sporadically on Instagram.

“People learn about it and call us,” the guide said. “Aside from the vaccine issue, we get a lot of custom these days because, with the economic situation being what it is, many travelers are choosing Armenia over Europe or Turkey.”

She adds that in her experience, many Iranian travel agencies have been using the vaccine rush to overcharge would-be travelers. It does not seem to have affected demand.

The Baffling Trajectory of Iran’s Domestic Covid-19 Vaccines

Shifa pharmaceutical company, the producer of Iran’s domestic CovIran-Barekat vaccine, has been forced to deny reports that its production line has been sabotaged and insisted all facilities are operating at full capacity.

A few days earlier, Mohammad Marandi, a political analyst and the son of the Supreme Leader’s personal physician, had claimed the production of CovIran-Barekat had been disrupted as a result of a “hostile action” by the US. He implied he was not at liberty to divulge the details.

Shortly afterward, though, Marandi about-turned and said he had been misquoted. But Hojjat Niki Maleki, a spokesman for Setad, the parastatal conglomerate controlled by the Supreme Leader that developed CovIran-Barekat, then reported that more than 1.2 million doses of vaccine has been “lost”.

The production of CovIran-Barekat started in the fall of 2020 and officials of the Islamic Republic promised that a million doses would be available by the wintertime. But every month after that, different excuses were given as to a delay. The vaccine is now said to be ready in time for August.

Hojjat Niki Maleki later tried to address the “missing” vaccines controversy by tweeting: “Given that this is a new production line, it is quite plausible that there will be problems in filling the vials after production; a batch of 1.2 million doses could get spoiled.”

Earlier, in April, it had been reported that production of CovIran-Barekat was not going to plan, but Setad denied the report.

Dr. Alireza Naji, head of Iran’s Virology Center, also chimed in with a theory about the alleged vaccine loss. “It’s possible that mistakes were made in the production line when they were separating the basic ingredients,” he said, adding helpfully: “It is also possible that things other than mistakes happened when they were filling up the vials.” Naji went on to suggest that some officials, out of haste or perhaps ignorance, had wanted to get rid of the imported vaccines as soon as possible and begin using the Iranian ones instead.

Nevertheless, Iran’s Food and Drug Administration recently issued an emergency permit for the use of CovIran-Barekat, despite the fact that the results of its clinical trials have not yet been published.

Dr. Minoo Mohraz, the chief supervisor of the vaccine’s clinical trials, announced that 400,000 doses had already been delivered to the Ministry of Health and 550,000 more doses would be delivered soon.

But Dr. Payam Tabarsi, head of the contagious diseases ward at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital, who is also a member of CovIran-Barekat clinical trial team, said he had no idea whether such a delivery had been made or not. “I prefer to say I don’t know,” he said. “The makers of the vaccine say that they have delivered the doses to the Ministry of Health, but the Ministry says it has not received such a shipment.”

But according to Kianoush Jahanpour and other officials, inoculations with CovIran-Barekat have  already got under way in provinces including Sistan and Baluchistan, Qom, Lorestan, Tehran and Markazi.

The extent of internal contradiction in the past week, added to the known state of Iran’s wider resourcing and production capabilities, has once again given rise to the question: is there really a CovIran-Barekat vaccine at all? Or will it be one of the imported batches, marketed under a different brand?

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to official statistics announced daily by the Health Ministry, a total of 1,008 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending July 8. With 166 deaths, July 7 had the highest number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end, 3,420 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs. The official figures state that as of now 2,090,510 Iranians have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

At the week’s end 120 Iranian cities were on red alert for coronavirus transmission, 182 are orange and 146 were yellow. No city in Iran was on blue alert.

July 9 – July 15

More than a week has passed since Iranian health officials declared a “fifth wave” of coronavirus infections was under way in the country. In seven days, the number of Iranian cities on “red alert” for high levels of transmission has jumped from 120 to 169. On Thursday, July 15, the officially-recorded number of coronavirus fatalities in a 24-hour period passed 200 again – a figure experts surmise is likely to be well shy of the real total.

By now, many Iranians have lost hope that they will receive even a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in their own country. At the same time, the hot summer has reduced compliance with health protocols such as mask-wearing in some provinces to below 40 percent.

***

According to a recent survey conducted by the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA), more than 26 percent of Iranians now believe that they will “never” be vaccinated against Covid-19. A further 19 percent think they have a chance of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine in 2022, while just 14 percent believe they could be vaccinated by the end of this summer.

Why the pessimism? “Yesterday, a list was published about promises made by government officials during the last year regarding vaccine imports and production,” a doctor in Iran told IranWire. “This list provides a good answer as to why people have lost hope.

“For a year now, various officials, from the health minister to provincial coronavirus taskforces, have issued all kinds of promises – but practically nothing has happened. When 26 percent of people who qualify for vaccination say their turn will never come, it’s exactly what these officials want. They have lowered expectations through their repeated, constant and unfulfilled promises.”

Officials of the Islamic Republic have failed to even implement the vaccination program they drew up for themselves. “It’s ugly that an official like Mr. Namaki [Health Minister Saeed Namaki] can make promises and then, when he does not fulfill them, behave as though it is us that owe him something,” the doctor said.

“I believe these empty promises are the main reason people have lost hope. They see other countries in the world and in the region are conducting their vaccination programs in an orderly manner. How can one read this news and not lose faith?

 “We are now in a fifth wave. The situation in the hospitals, particularly in Tehran, attests to this. Both we [doctors] and the nurses are under enormous pressure. The National Coronavirus Taskforce says the new surge is the result of a failure to observe health protocols. What it doesn’t say is that people have failed to observe the guidelines because the vaccination process has been so slow.”

There are now 169 Iranian cities on red alert for coronavirus transmission. But countless Iranians are traveling for summer vacations nonetheless.

For 10 months, the river Zayanderud in central Iran had been running dry. But authorities recently opened a dam so that the water will again flow for 10 days dry through the picturesque city of Isfahan, a perennial tourist destination. Reports received by IranWire indicate travelers are already flocking to the town and milling around, largely unmasked and with few guidelines enforced.

Compliance with health protocols in dozens of other Iranian cities has also reportedly dropped to a bare minimum, at a time when the Delta variant is running rampant in much of Iran.

Foreign Ministry: Do Not Travel to Armenia

Having given up on receiving a Covid-19 vaccine close to home, Iranians with money to burn have been flocking to neighboring countries to get their first jab, especially Armenia.

This has naturally troubled the regime from a PR perspective. On July 15, the Foreign Ministry advised Iranians not to travel to Armenia because vaccination centers in that country could only accept a limited number of people and they might have to wait a long time. Pictures of long queues on the Armenian border – and even waiting travelers sleeping in cardboard boxes – have surfaced on social media over the past fortnight. This gruelling wait for a Covid-19 vaccine, though, is still nothing compared to what Iranians now believe they can expect if they remain patient at home.

On Tuesday, July 6, the Armenian ambassador to Tehran announced that from July 15, travelers who stayed for fewer than 10 days in Armenia would not receive a free shot. Up until that point most Iranian “vaccine tourists” had been booking four-day excursions to Iran’s immediate neighbor.

Vaccination: Slower than Slow

Not only has the Ministry of Health failed to deliver on its promises regarding the importation of foreign-made vaccines, but millions of doses of Iran’s own CovIran-Barekat vaccine, being produced by the Executive Headquarters of Imam's Directive (“Setad”), have yet to materialize.

On Wednesday, July 14, the Iranian Red Crescent Society reported that it had so far imported more than one million doses of vaccine. In total, Iran has imported around 11 million doses and used 7,727,534 of them.

In the meantime, Setad had previously claimed it would deliver 50 million doses of CovIran-Barekat to the Health Ministry by the late September. From late July, the conglomerate said it could produce they plan to produce 1.2 million of doses per month. According to official sources, 700,000 doses have been produced so far.

People of Sistan and Baluchistan: Domestic Vaccine Guinea Pigs?

The deprived province of Sistan and Baluchistan has been badly-hit by the delta variant. As a result, inoculations with CovIran-Barekat began in this province on Monday, July 12 despite no official data having yet been published about its efficacy.

“The situation in Sistan and Baluchistan has become more critical than before,” Reyhan, a resident of the provincial capital of Zahedan, told IranWire. “These days they don’t publish any reports about us because Tehran and other provinces have also been put on red alert.

“Here, though, you can’t even find masks or disinfectants in some cities. Many of our cities do not have a hospital and where they do, there are often no infectious disease specialists or ventilators.”

Reyhan is deeply sceptical about the use of CovIran-Barekat on the local population. “People are not willing to be injected because they don’t trust this vaccine. It seems they are using our people as test subjects. They know very well that some people in Sistan and Baluchistan have no ID cards [to present to health workers at vaccination sites]… This drive is completely useless.”

Shia Mourning Season Gets Under Way

The very high temperatures in Iran have made mask-wearing very difficult for most people. Low compliance and gatherings will be partly responsible for the recent uptick in cases – but so too will be the fact that the traditional season of Shia mourning ceremonies is set to go ahead unhindered.

The National Coronavirus Taskforce has agreed to allow mass mourning rituals to go ahead across Iran during the Islamic lunar month of Muharram, which this year starts on August 10. It seems health officials are determined not to heed the lessons they should have learned last year. In autumn 2020, Iran’s horrific third wave of infections was turbo-charged by gatherings for Muharram and Ashura, after which even the officially-recorded number of deaths came close to 500.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to the official statistics announced daily by the Health Ministry, recorded deaths due to Covid-19 rose almost every day in the week ending July 15, as did new infections and hospitalizations. A total of 1,195 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 last week and July 15, with 201 deaths, had the highest official number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end, 4,064 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs. According to the Iranian government, of now 2,2019,693 Iranians, in a population of more than 82 million, have received both doses of vaccine.

At the week’s end the Health Ministry announced that 169 Iranian cities were on red alert, an increase of 49 in a week. Another166 were rated orange and 113 were yellow. No city in Iran is currently on blue alert.

July 16 – 23

On July 22, President Rouhani claimed his administration had fulfilled its promise to control the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that he knows better than any other Iranian official critical the situation remains in the country today.

The number of cities on red and orange alerts has reached 349 and there are no hospital beds available in Tehran. Many provinces still suffer from extreme shortage of medical facilities, lack of PCR test kits and the unavailability of testing for the Delta variant of coronavirus.

Not only did the six-day lockdown of Tehran and Alborz provinces and the nominal ban on traveling not reduce the number of travelers to these areas, it drove people to use public transportation instead of private vehicles, making it easier for the virus to spread. At the same time the health minister claims that people are happy with the pace of the vaccination roll-out, his deputy apologizes for the problems that are keeping people from getting vaccinations.

***

The most concise way of describing the pandemic situation in Iran is that it is “super-critical”. There are widespread reports of the shortage of hospital beds in provincial capitals, and this has been felt more sharply in Tehran province, with its population of 15 million. In the 24 hours leading up to noon on Sunday, July 18, more than 17,000 people arrived at hospitals in Tehran for treatement: a new record.

“We really have a serious problem in admitting patients, and we are doing our best so that nobody will have to wait for a bed, but it is difficult to make this happen,” admitted Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi.

According to a report by Tejarat News, there is currently not even a single available bed in Tehran’s Nikan, Imam Khomeini and Apadana hospitals. The report quotes a patient who revealed that hospital officials in Tehran have demanded 30 million tomans, over $7,200, to “arrange” for an empty bed.

Prior to this, Dr. Hossein Kermanpour, the spokesman for Iran’s Medical Council and who also works on an emergency ward, reported that new patients admitted to Tehran’s Milad Hospital have no alternative but to lie down on blankets on the floor provided by the hospital. According to him, every day the hospital receives dozens of calls from people in search of empty beds, beds that do not exist.

“We have not kept even one patient from coming to the hospital,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki has said repeatedly since the pandemic started last February. Iranian citizens have disputed the claim, and they continue to refute it as Iran experiences its fifth wave of the virus.

“Only patients in a critical condition are admitted to the hospitals,” a Tehran citizen told IranWire, adding that he had gone to a number of hospitals and treatment centers throughout the capital. He reported that patients are waiting in emergency wards because no beds are available in normal wards; some arrive at clinics in desperation: “I did not expect to see a line of Covid-19 patients at a government clinic in Tehran’s [well-to-do] Ekhtiyariyeh neighborhood. The clinic had eight beds and all eight had been given to coronavirus patients.” According to him, only two of these patients were in a stable condition and the rest were receiving specialist medical care.

“People are afraid to go to the hospitals,” he said. “Hospitals lack facilities and besides, they have no empty beds. Those who can afford it go to well-equipped and well-staffed clinics and quarantine themselves at home.”

Deputy Minister Apologizes

Earlier in July, Saeed Namaki had announced that, starting on July 10, 400,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine would be administered each day. The injections did start, but only after a 10-day delay on July 18. However, in recent days the number has fallen to half.

Currently, the Islamic Republic has imported approximately 12 million doses of the vaccine in 23 shipments. Most of these vaccine doses have been imported over the course of June and July, leading to widespread criticisms of the Ministry of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Health minister Saeed Namaki, however, shirked responsibility for the delays and announced: “importing vaccines is not the responsibility of the health ministry.”

At the same time, Namaki continues to claim that vaccination in Iran is progressing at a fast pace, and that people are satisfied with this progress.Dr. Alireza Zali, director of Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, however, does not agree with the minister. The process of vaccination, he said on July 18, is not satisfactory, and the country must adopt a “battle approach” when dealing with coronavirus. Even Namaki’s own deputy, Iraj Harirchi, apologized to Iranians for the delays in vaccination.

According to the latest official figures, as of July 22 more than 9.6 million doses of the vaccine have been administrated in Iran and 2,334,317 people have received both doses. Kianoush Jahanpour, the spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, says more than 300,000 people have been inoculated with the domestic CovIran-Barekat vaccine.

Lockdown in Tehran and Alborz

In the week ending July 22, Covid-19 claimed an average of more than 200 lives a day and the total number of fatalities surpassed 88,000. However, according to a number of Islamic Republic health officials, these figures should be at least doubled to arrive at the real number of fatalities.

When it was announced that the provinces of Tehran and Alborz would be locked down from July 20 for six days, many people immediately set out to travel to the scenic northern provinces in their cars; those who did not have private cars rushed to public transportation terminals.

At the same time, officials of the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran announced that they would not allow people traveling from other provinces to remain in the province, and the police announced they would be stopping cars coming from elsewhere. However, what actually happened on the ground was very different.

Several citizens reported that people traveling in private cars paid fees of between 500,000 and one million tomans ($120 or $240) and were then allowed to continue their journey. Furthermore, not only did the number of travelers not decrease following the introduction of restrictions and fines, it prompted an increase in innovative ways to bypass restrictions.

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), in some cities in Mazandaran on the coast of the Caspian Sea, cars with local license plates have been rented to travelers so that they can bypass restrictions imposed on out-of-province cars. As a result, the number of people from other provinces currently spending time in public spaces in northern provinces has risen.

“Unfortunately, a high number of people who traveled here from other provinces are in our hospitals in critical condition, showing that the Delta variant is no joke,” said Dr. Abtin Heydarzadeh, vice president of Gilan University of Medical Sciences.

According to officials at Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, all hospital wards in the province are currently treating Covid-19 patients. In a number of cities in Mazandaran, including Amol, the number of inpatients has surpassed 400 and even private hospitals and clinics have been required to treat coronavirus cases. It was also reported that hospitals in Noshahr and Mahmoud Abad are at capacity.

Official Coronavirus Statistics

According to official statistics announced daily by the health ministry, a total of 1,471 patients lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending July 22. With 250 deaths, July 20 had the highest number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end, 4,628 Covid-19 patients were being treated in ICUs. As of July 23, 2,334,317 Iranians have received both doses of the vaccine.

At the week’s end the health ministry announced that currently 232 Iranian cities are on red alert, an increase of 63 over the previous week; 117 are orange and 99 are yellow. No city in Iran is currently on blue alert.

July 23 – 29:

The vaccination campaign in Iran, at least according to the Health Ministry, has finally picked up speed. The official statistics show that about 400,000 Iranians are now receiving a Covid-19 jab every day.

The Iranian authorities now face a race against time. The spread of the Delta variant has seen the rate new infections soar across the country and the officially-recorded number of daily Covid-19 fatalities is now around 300.

The Delta variant spreads much more rapidly than the “original” strain of SARS-CoV-2 that hit Iran so catastrophically last year. Hospitals are already at capacity before scientists believe the “fifth wave” will reach its peak. Beds earmarked for armed forces and social security patients have now been repurposed for Covid-19 patients. The situation in Tehran has been described by Iranian media as “explosive” and even “beyond repair”.

***

After months-long delays, hundreds of thousands of Iranians are now reportedly receiving a dose of Covid-19 vaccine each day. It might be about the only good nationwide news to be found in Iran at the moment amid the water crisisblackouts and internet shutdowns.

In that time, the compliance of an exhausted with health protocols such as mask-wearing has – according to the authorities – dropped to below 50 percent. Hospital staff on packed have likened the sudden uptick in vaccination to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

According to the Health Ministry, as of Thursday, July 29, a total of 11,808,230 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administrated in Iran. The Food and Drug Administration claimed that more than 500,000 of these were the domestically-manufactured CovIran-Barekat, while the majority were the Chinese-made Sinopharm.

Meanwhile, reportedly for the first time, the private sector has successfully imported around 320,000 doses of AstraZeneca. Nasser Riahi, president of the Association of Drug Importers, said that around 380,000 more doses of this vaccine are due to arrive next week. By the second half of August, he added, a million doses would be available to the Health Ministry.

A pharmacologist told IranWire that AstraZeneca had, in fact, been imported to Iran and used on some patients in June. The new doses, he said, would likely go to the same people for their second jab.

“According to their own figures,” he added, “they are distributing 400,000 doses of vaccine a day at the moment. That means this batch [of AstraZeneca] is just enough for one day.

“They’d better speed up, because time is running out. In fact, it’s already run out.”

The government has announced that for the time being, anyone aged over 58 is eligible to receive a Covid-19 jab. On Thursday it also began the targeted vaccination of some high-risk groups including reporters, taxi drivers, land, air and sea transport drivers, firefighters, teachers, judges, court staff, prisoners and people with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

"Black Market for Beds" Explodes Across Tehran

Hospitals across Iran are in a critical situation. In Tehran, the number of Covid-19 inpatients surged from 8,000 to more than 10,000 in just one week. Officials of Qazvin University of Medical Sciences report that Covid-19 patients from hospitals in Tehran and Alborz are “overflowing” into hospitals in Qazvin because those provinces have run out of beds.

“The number of outpatients, inpatients and patients in a critical condition in need of ventilators has increased significantly,” said Nader Tavakoli, deputy director of Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce. “We have not yet reached the peak of the fifth wave but the number of inpatients in Tehran has already passed 10,000.”

The shortage of hospital beds has led, perhaps inevitably, to a black market for beds. Last week Tejarat News reported that at one location, hospital beds could be illicitly bought for 30 million tomans (close to $7,300). And on July 29, the companion of a Covid-19 patient told Mehr News Agency that the price of some hospital beds had reached 50 million tomans (more than $12,100).

Also on July 29, Tehran Emergency Services announced that no empty beds were available anywhere in the city. It people not to attempt to travel from hospital to hospital in search of a bed, but to stay put and wait in the emergency room.

Mohsen Hashemi, chairman of Tehran City Council, said Covid-19 is claiming the lives of more than 150 people in the capital every day. If true, it would mean Covid-19 deaths in Iran currently account for half of the daily total across Iran’s 31 provinces.

Lockdown Escapees Spread the Delta Variant in Northern Iran

Last week a six-day lockdown was imposed in Tehran and Alborz. But before it came into effect, around half a million people from Tehran left the province in private cars, heading mostly for the picturesque and green northern regions. As such it has since been reported that the “lockdown” in fact helped the Delta variant to spread elsewhere.

The three northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan are no longer on “red” alert for coronavirus transmission but “black”: or so claimed Rahmatollah Nowroozi, an MP for Golestan. “Patients are sleeping in the hospital corridors,” he said.

The situation in Mazandaran, west of Golestan, is also reportedly dire. According to Simin Babaei, spokeswoman for Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, hospitals in the cities of Amol, Qaemshahr, and Sari are at capacity. “The contagion is picking up speed and we haven’t yet reached the peak,” she said, adding that government hospitals were having to send patients to private facilities and sites belonging to the Social Security Organization.

The city of Tonekabon in Mazandaran has been described as being in a “super-critical” state, with medical staff exhausted and at least two ICUs at capacity.  A group of local epidemiologists have asked for a 10-day total shutdown of businesses.

In the neighboring province of Gilan, between 6,000 to 8,000 new cases of infection with the Delta variant are being diagnosed each day. Gilan University of Medical Sciences reports that there are more than 1,100 Covid-19 patients in the country’s hospitals, of whom 150 are in a serious condition.

Razi Hospital in Rasht, the capital of Gilan, is reportedly transferring non-Covid-19 patients to other hospitals after dark. “This week the number of whole families coming into hospital together has increased,” a nurse at Razi Hospital told IranWire. “In just one 12-hour shift, we watched 11 patients die.

She said most of the fatalities were people aged under 60 who had not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine.  “We do have a number of over-60s hospitalized as well,” she said, “but they’re not as seriously ill and usually get discharged in a few hours, or at most a few days. I can see the vaccine’s effectiveness. The worst thing is the deaths of young people.”

Official Coronavirus Statistics

On July 27, Iran ranked first  in the world in terms of the number of newly-recorded infections, outstripping even India. Other high-ranking countries on that date included Indonesia and Russia.

According to the Health Ministry’s weekly statistics, a total of 2,011 patients are known to have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the week ending July 29. With 357 deaths, July 27 had the highest officially-recorded number of fatalities for the week.

At the week’s end, 5,296 Covid-19 patients in Iran were being treated in ICUs. According to the Health Ministry, at the time of writing 2,628,141 Iranians had received both doses of vaccine.

There are currently 232 Iranian cities on red alert for coronavirus transmission. Another 117 are rated orange and 99 are yellow. No city in Iran is currently on “blue” alert.

This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology

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