According to the latest figures released by Iran’s health department on Friday, 144 people have died and 3,049 new cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours. The total number of confirmed deaths from Covid-19 stands at 23,952, and 28 of the country’s provinces, including the capital, Tehran, are ranked red or yellow on a scale indicating the severity of outbreaks.
Earlier this week, Alireza Zali, Tehran’s anti-coronavirus coordinator, said forecasts showed the country “is heading for the third wave of the coronavirus, and it looks like the wave will take shape in Tehran much earlier than in the other provinces ”.
Iraj Harirchi, director of the National Coronavirus Control Center, said the country’s color-coding system no longer made sense. “We have no more orange and yellow, the whole country is in red,” he said. He warned that the death toll could reach 45,000, the flu complication would arrive soon.
Abbas Ali Dorsti, vice chancellor for health at the University of Medical Sciences in Tabriz, warned that despite Iranians adhering to 70% of health protocols, the events of the past few weeks, including increased travel and some people’s failure to follow protocols meant infections were back on the rise.
Schools and universities have reopened, but it’s up to parents to decide whether or not to send their child to class, and in many cases, parents keep children at home.
As some Iranians warn of a health disaster this winter, increasingly distant Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the health department was trying to muster an additional 10,000 hospital beds.
More than 400,000 Iranians are officially recorded as having contracted the virus, although these official figures are widely seen as an underestimate. The crisis comes at a time of unprecedented pressure on the cost of living of ordinary Iranians as sanctions bite, hit the currency and drive up the prices of everyday goods from cars, gasoline and butter .
The political dispute between the United States and Iran over sanctions is also escalating in the run-up to the US presidential elections.