The Iranian health minister Saeed Namaki has announced that the new variant of coronavirus, which appears to spread more easily and quickly, has not reached Iran and three Iranians who had returned from the United Kingdom, where there are high cases of the variant, have tested negative.
Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s Food and Drug Administration has announced that Iran is currently producing all the medication needed to treat Covid-19 patients.
When the pandemic started, more than 90 percent of all medication needed to treat Covid-19 patients were imported, but, according to Mohammad Reza Shanehsaz, the situation is now very different. He said that a year after the pandemic started, there were still no specific drugs to treat coronavirus patients, but “auxiliary” drugs used to treat the disease — with varying levels of effectiveness — such as Remdesivir are now produced in Iran.
In recent months Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that Iran is self-sufficient in the production of such medications.
The trial of an Iranian vaccine on humans started on December 29. Health minister Saeed Namaki said that “besides this domestic vaccine, we intended to procure vaccines from reliable sources and we are in the process of purchasing vaccines. In announcing the good news that an Iranian vaccine is on the way we do not want to keep people waiting for this vaccine.”
In the meantime, air pollution in metropolitan areas across Iran has increased in recent days and there is the possibility that a temporary lockdown of Tehran will be imposed. There is also concern that infections will increase during the upcoming religious ceremonies known as Fatimiyya days, when Muslims, and especially Shias, mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammad’s youngest daughter Fatimah al-Zahra.
Health minister Namaki appealed to people to conduct religious ceremonies during Fatimiyya days in the way they did for the Islamic lunar calendar month of Muharram in August and September when Shias mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein in 680 AD. The advice was strange, given that numerous health experts had said that Muharram ceremonies were one of the main causes of the sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections and fatalities in late summer and early autumn.
Namaki reported that the situation in the northern province of Mazandaran is “not favorable” and the number of hospitalizations and fatalities in the province is on an upward trend. In the last weeks, five of the 12 cities in a red state of alert were located in Mazandaran and, with more than 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations, it, along with several other Iranian provinces, faces a critical situation.
According to the latest figures announced by the health ministry, the number of coronavirus fatalities in Iran has risen for the second day in a row and the situation in Fars and Kerman was also described as very unstable.
The city of Tehran has been suffering from the worst air pollution in a year. Experts have warned about the damage air pollution can do with regards to coronavirus. “Pollutants can increase the chances of coronavirus infection,” said Dr. Mohammad Reza Zahedpour Anaraki, a pulmonary diseases specialist. “Coronavirus attaches itself to pollutants and can transmit the disease. That is why wearing masks is advised. The virus is hanging in the air and it is transmitted rapidly, especially in crowded places and where traffic is high.”
On November 5 and 6, the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Tehran was 6,700 but now it has fallen to 2,300, reported Anooshirvan Mohseni Bandpey, governor of Tehran province. According to him, the daily number of fatalities has also fallen to around 28. However, he said, “proposals have been submitted to the first vice president and the cabinet to declare a temporary lockdown for a day or two if the situation deteriorates.”
Over the last two weeks, the number of coronavirus fatalities in Golestan had surged but during the last week in December it began falling, according to Paniz Sadraei, vice president of Golestan University of Medical Sciences. Sadraei reported that currently, between 10 and 11 Covid-19 patients die in the province every day. She warned that if health protocols are not observed, Golestan would return to a red state of alert.
Based on the latest reports, all cities in Kermanshah are now in a yellow state of alert and there are no longer any red or orange cities in the province. In the 24-hour period spanning December 29 and December 30, 55 new patients with Covid-19 symptoms were hospitalized in the province and 47 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery. As of December 30, 180 coronavirus patients were hospitalized across Kermanshah and, with the death of one person with Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, the death toll in the province has reached 1,424.
In the last 24 hours, 48 more people with Covid-19 were hospitalized in Kurdistan. Currently 155 coronavirus patients are hospitalized across the province, 34 of them in intensive care units (ICUs). And with the death of another three coronavirus patients, the official death toll in the province from the pandemic reached 1,034.
In the last 24 hours, 34 people with confirmed cases of Covid-19 were hospitalized in Ardebil and 27 were discharged from the hospitals. Currently 258 coronavirus patients are hospitalized across the province, 70 of them in ICUs.
Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics
In her daily briefing for December 30, the health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the last 24 hours:
Dr. Lari reported that currently no Iranian city is on red alert, 108 cities are in an orange state of alert and 340 are yellow.
This is part of IranWire's coronavirus chronology. Read the full chronology