Tehran Enters Six-Day Lockdown To Contain Latest Covid Surge
Ali Rabiei, spokesman of the Iranian government, on Monday announced a six-day lockdown in Tehran and Alborz provinces starting Tuesday to combat rising cases of Covid-19. Chairman of Tehran City Council Mohsen Hashemi said Sunday that there are more than 100 Covid deaths in the city of Tehran now.
The health ministry Sunday reported 22,184 new cases and 195 deaths across Iran in the last 24-hour reporting period. The ministry also said 304,664 vaccinations had been given in the 24 hours, a record high.
Tehran Province Governor Anoushiravan Mohseni-Bandpey said Sunday that the density of population and greater use of public transport than elsewhere had led to a faster spread of the highly contagious Delta variant despite close observance of health protocols in the province.
President Hassan Rouhani on July 17 attributed a surge in infections to voting in the June 18 president election, Eid al-Fitr ceremonies in May, summer trips, and the arrival of the Delta variant across Iran’s eastern and southern borders. Iran has reported 3.52 million cases and 87,161 deaths since February 2020 when it became the second country after China with a Covid outbreak.
The vaccination program has moved slowly, with 8.5 million doses (first and second jabs) administered. Nearly 6.2 million people, 7.3 percent of the 84-million population have been fully inoculated.
Despite claims over self-sufficiency in vaccine production, most vaccines used have been imported. According to Food and Drug Administration Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpur, nearly half the 8.5 million doses have come from China, with 1.74 million AstraZeneca through the United Nations Covax program, and 770,000 of the Russian Sputnik vaccine.
Jahanpur also said so far around 206,000 doses of Iran's homegrown CovIran Barakat had been administered. Ten days ago the producing company claimed that at least two million doses had been produced. Officials of the company said another 1.2 million vials of the vaccine were lost due to technical problems during production. Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, was shown receiving CovIran-Barakat in late June.
Khamenei’s ban on importing United States and British Covid vaccines, announced January, and payment difficulties due to US sanctions, have slowed down procuring vaccines through Covax. The AstraZeneca vaccine used in Iran has been produced in South Korea or India.
Iran is currently in a fifth wave of the pandemic with more cities designated daily as ‘code red’ and hospitals reporting a shortage of beds for Covid patients. Many Iranians have gone to neighboring Armenia for free jabs.