On Monday, November 9, the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced it has developed a Covid-19 vaccine proven to be 90 percent effective in trials. The announcement was widely reported around the world, bringing hope into what has been a dismal year for many. However, the situation in Iran is very different from many other countries. The daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Iran has exceeded 10,000, but just between 35,000 and 40,000 tests are conducted across the country each day. This means that at least 25 percent of people who have been tested are infected with coronavirus.
On November 10, health minister Saeed Namaki said it was necessary for 10,000 tests to be carried out per day, but the government’s recent record in fulfilling its promises made it highly questionable that that number would be reached any time soon.
According to official statistics announced by the health ministry, as of November 10, every three minutes one Iranian person dies from Covid-19 — and this is just the official figure. For the last several days, the number of coronavirus fatalities has not dipped below 400 per day. Nevertheless, the government is still trying out strategies of introducing limited restrictions in populous cities and has refused to accept the necessity of imposing drastic quarantines.
New Restrictions and Curfews Begin
According to a measure approved by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, starting at 18:00 hours on Tuesday, November 10, all non-essential businesses and services will shut down in Tehran and other populous cities. Also, a traffic curfew will be in effect from 9pm to 4am. These restrictions will are to remain in place for a month.
Previous decisions by the taskforce have not made much of a dent in the spread of coronavirus in Iran. On the contrary, the virus has been spreading faster and further than ever before. Nevertheless, the government is going ahead with the new restrictions despite widespread criticisms of their inadequacy.
On Monday, November 9, Hossein Ali Shahriari, chairman of the parliament’s Health Committee, compared the new restrictions to “a joke” and said that if the government refuses to impose quarantines and lockdowns then the parliament has to get into the act. Today, in a letter to President Rouhani, Shahriari asked him for a complete lockdown of Tehran and other big cities “for 15 to 30 day” to contain the number of hospitalizations and to give the health workers and the medical staff time to recover from exhaustion.
“The situation with coronavirus has never been as horrid as it is now,” said Dr. Minoo Moharez, member of the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s Scientific Committee. “Patients are lining up for empty beds in the hospitals and this situation cannot be ignored.” She said that when the situation is so bad the only way is to lock down wherever the rate of infections is high and this is what they do everywhere in the world.
In Isfahan province the number of hospitalized patients with coronavirus symptoms has now exceeded 2,000 and, according to the officials of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, the health system in the province is “on the verge of breakdown”. Kamal Heydari, vice president of the university, asked the people and charities to help pay for “respirators coronavirus patients who can be sent home” so that more beds would be available in the hospitals for patients in a critical condition.
In the last 24 hours in Alborz province coronavirus claimed the lives of 18 more patients, reported Dr. Mohammad Fathi, president of Alborz University of Medical Sciences. During the same 24 hours, 120 new Covid-19 patients were hospitalized in the province, bringing to total of confirmed or suspect coronavirus hospitalizations in Alborz to 908.
Following the guidelines issued by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, officials in Mazandaran province enforced restrictions on non-essential businesses and services and curfews on traffic across the province. According to a provincial officials, these restricts are imposed on all the 58 cities in Mazandaran because these cities are close to each other and people in cities with restrictions might be tempted to travel to cities without restrictions.
Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics
In her daily briefing for November 10, the health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the past 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