While many countries face the dreaded “second wave” of coronavirus cases, and there are still places that do not exceed the first, Iran is already counting the deaths of a third wave.
And in what was already one of the Middle Eastern countries most affected by the pandemic, that “third wave” is the deadliest to date.
Iran again broke his record of daily infections in the middle of the week with the 4,830 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday, October 14, according to the records of Johns Hopkins University (United States).
But the Persian nation has been breaking records since last September 22, when it first surpassed the 3,574 daily cases registered in early June, at the top of its “second wave.”
“Although the second wave of coronavirus was successfully contained, the third wave has been emerging because health protocols have been ignored, “the Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned that same day, according to a report from the official agency. Iran Press.
Less than two weeks later, on October 5, Iran had already equaled its record for daily deaths, dating back to July.
And the 279 dead registered this Wednesday are also the highest daily number in a country that, according to official figures, already has more than half a million infections and almost 30,000 deaths from the pandemic.
The actual figure, however, is much higher: last August the BBC’s Persian service received leaked government records showing that as of July 20, almost 42,000 people had died with symptoms of covid-19, but the Ministry of Health only reported 14,405 deceased.
The number of people identified as infected in those documents was also almost double the ministry’s figures.
And Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Haririchi finally acknowledged that the actual death toll is “significantly” higher than official figures.
According to BBC Persa, Haririchi explained that official statistics are based on the number of deaths with a positive PCR test, but he estimated that, depending on the province, the actual number of coronavirus victims is1.5-2.2 times higher than the one thrown by those records.
The deputy minister also warned that both health workers and medical supplies are on the verge of exhaustion from the worsening situation in Tehran and other regions of the country.
At this time, 27 of the 31 provinces of the country have already been designated by the Iranian authorities as “red” areas due to the rapid increase in infections.
And the situation in the capital, Tehran, and its suburbs, has been described as especially “critical.”
Dr. Alireza Zali, who commands the operations against the coronavirus in the province of Tehran, warned this Wednesday that it lives “The most difficult days of the third wave disease”.
“If no serious intervention is carried out, this rise will not decline and conditions may keep it that way,” added Zali, according to statements collected by BBC Persa.
To try to limit the spread of the virus, the use of masks in the capital is mandatory since last Saturday, with the government announcing fines of US $ 6.60 for those who go out without one.
And this Wednesday, all travel to or from Tehran and four other large Iranian cities were also banned until noon on Sunday.
The move was ordered a day after Iran’s supreme leader, ayatolá Alí Khamenei, expressly request the prohibition “of certain activities and trips.”
“Regulations on the crown must be sovereign and binding. I have long told the esteemed president and officials that they must be enforced,” Khamenei also said, according to his Twitter account.
President Hassan Rouhani, for his part, had already stated last week that anyone who hides a covid-19 infection and does not self-quarantine for 14 days should face “the greatest punishment”.
And the president also warned that government employees who repeatedly break regulations could be suspended for a year and that offending businesses could be closed.
The new provisions are a good reflection of the official position, which blames the resurgence of the virus on the lack of compliance with measures such as the use of masks and social distancing.
And it is that although the Iranian Minister of Health, Saeed Namaki, insisted this week that maintain “illegal sanctions” During a pandemic it is equivalent to a genocide, he also assured that Iran has been able to meet its needs for medicines and protective equipment, and even export to other countries.
In an impoverished country exhausted by years of sanctions, however, confidence in the authorities’ ability to deal with the coronavirus pandemic has been declining.
And even the head of the Iranian Medical Association, who is appointed by the government, has been critical, accusing officials in charge of dealing with the crisis of having ignored the warnings of the experts.
“Some decisions were not made by the experts, such as the reopening of schools or the announcement of protocols that people were not obliged to follow,” said Mohammad Reza Zafarghandi, in statements collected by the newspaper. The Guardian.
But for Mohammad Talebpour, the director of the Sina hospital, the oldest in Tehran, if the Iranians do not act together the consequences could be even more disastrous.
Talebpour told himself The Guardian that, in that case, and if the disease persists for another 18 months, the death toll could reach 300,000.
More than a wave, a real tidal wave for Iran.
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