News from cities across Iran continues to be grim. In recent weeks, hospital officials have regularly repeated that facilities are running out of beds or have already been filled to capacity, and many hospitals are experiencing oxygen shortages. Even cemeteries are running out of space. Traffic in and out of 25 provincial capitals has been restricted, although traveling by public transport is often possible and hassle-free.
After months of misleading data, official statistics are now more reliable, and worrisome. Daily coronavirus fatalities remain at over 400, sounding the alarm in big cities, especially in Tehran, which has been nicknamed the “coronavirus exchange center.” The National Coronavirus Taskforce can no longer control the situation, and it is up to the government to decide to quarantine metropolitan areas. But will it?
Tehran hospitals have run out of beds allocated to Covid-19 patients, and other wards are being encroached on, reported Farshad Allameh, vice president of Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He said that providing oxygen to patients has become a “challenge.” Hospitals, he said, had never used so much oxygen.
As of November 4, more than 6,400 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Tehran province, around 1,700 of them in ICUs. There has been talk of a lockdown in Tehran and Nader Tavakoli, deputy director of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce, reported that a decision to shut down Tehran for two weeks could be taken during the second week of November. This follows several proposals from Tehran City Council and other officials for lockdown, proposals the taskforce failed to consider.
The number of patients in critical condition arriving at the capital’s hospital emergency wards is on the increase, reported Dr. Payam Tabarsi, head of the infectious disease ward at Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital. “The coronavirus siege around us is now tighter than ever, the disease is swirling fast and it seems to have broken its harness,” he said.
“A lockdown of Tehran would not only be to control the epidemic, but also to restore the vigor of the medical staff," said Dr. Alireza Zali, director of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce. “Our proposal is a lockdown for two or three weeks and it would cover everything except vital services and food distribution.”
Dr. Zali also asked the minister of culture to shut down movie projects as soon as possible. On October 29, movie and TV actor Karim Akbari died of Covid-19 and it was announced that his co-star Laleh Eskandari had been infected with coronavirus. Another actress, Rabe'e Oskooei, was also infected during the filming of a movie and as of November 4, she was quarantined in a hotel in Mashhad.
In the 24-hour period spanning November 3 and November 4, 18 Covid-19 patients in Tehran’s neighboring province of Alborz died, bringing the total death toll in the province since the coronavirus outbreak began to 1,787. As of November 4, 904 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized in the province, reported Dr. Mohammad Fathi, president of Alborz University of Medical Sciences. He said that if this trend continues, the province will soon be reporting a four-digit figure for cases.
In October, Alborz provincial officials requested that businesses in the province close on Thursdays, but the interior ministry has yet to respond to this request. In addition, there are no restrictions on traveling between Tehran and Alborz. Officials pointed out that movement of people between these two provinces increases the chances of transmission.
Since late September, 223 students in Hormozgan province have been infected with coronavirus, reported Hossein Farshidi, president of Hormozgan University of Medical Science. He said he did not, however, believe that those cases had been caused by schools reopening, because even before they opened, 985 students had been infected. He also reported that 405 teachers and 46 employees of the province’s department of education had been infected with coronavirus.
The province of Kermanshah is “in a state of war,” announced Dr. Mahmoud Reza Moradi, president of Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, who asked for a nighttime curfew in the province.
Provincial officials in Kermanshah had recently announced that if the number of hospitalizations exceeded 1,000, consideration must be given to the setting up of field hospitals. The army announced that it was ready to help. On November 4, Dr. Moradi said they had prepared beds for 1,400 hospitalizations during the coming winter but that now “we are on the threshold of 1,100 hospitalizations and if within a few days 300 more are added to this number our capacity will be practically exhausted.”
Moradi also reported that, as of November 4, 2,600 health workers and medical personnel in Kermanshah had been infected with coronavirus.
Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics
In her daily briefing for November 4, health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the last 24 hours:
Dr. Lari also reported that all 31 Iranian provinces are in red, orange or yellow states of alert.
This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology