The crisis unleashed in Iran by the surge of coronavirus in recent weeks has forced government officials to be more forthright with the public. In late October, the average number of Covid-19 fatalities was over 300 per day, but a number of health officials have said the true number can only be determined by multiplying that figure by somewhere between two and four.
The deteriorating situation has also forced the government to increase restrictions and order more businesses to shut down, at least for a week. The newfound transparency from officials is a hopeful sign but this apparent honesty has also served to shift responsibility on to the public. Essentially, the government has announced that people must take precautions themselves and that it cannot be responsible if they contract the virus.
The coronavirus crisis is so bad that the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called for the mobilization of “jihadi forces and the mosques,” urging them to do their part.
“Patients in Tehran who go to treatment centers are in the most critical condition,” reported Dr. Alireza Zali, director of the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce. He said a list of patients who have been released from the hospital after testing positive will be given to “social institutions” and “neighborhood Basiji members” so that they can surveil these patients during house quarantine.
“To plan accurately and carry out the necessary interventions, a detailed record of infections, deaths and releases from the hospital for each neighborhood at the end of the week is required,” announced Dr. Zali.
With these statements, the Revolutionary Guards and the paramilitary Basij have officially been brought in to fight the coronavirus crisis.
General Mohammad Reza Yazdi, commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran, reported that “jihadi groups” are preparing to follow the Supreme Leader’s command by “identifying individuals who transmit the disease,” “helping to disinfect public places and public transportation vehicles,” “distributing free or inexpensive masks,” “conducting patrols to forbid violations of health protocols,” “distributing food items among patients and medical staff,” “supplying smart help to vulnerable groups,” and so on.
The two coinciding issues of air pollution and coronavirus have caused serious lung problems and the situation is even worse for individuals suffering from underlying diseases, said Mahmoud Mir-Lohi, a member of Tehran City Council. He reported that the number of coronavirus fatalities in Tehran is now between 150 and 160 per day, “15 to 20 times higher than in May, when the daily number of fatalities was at most nine. Some experts believe that one reason for this increase is air pollution.” He added that he believes the only way to cope with the epidemic and pollution is to remain at home and avoid traveling.
As of October 26, out of 21 members of Tehran City Council, five have been infected with coronavirus — Zahra Sadr-Azam Nouri, Ali E'ta, Mohammad Alikhani, Zahra Nejad-Bahram and, most recently, Majid Farahani.
Based on decisions approved by the National Coronavirus Taskforce, all non-essential businesses in 43 cities in the red state of alert were due to close starting on Monday, October 26, announced government spokesman Ali Rabiei. “Violations of these shutdowns will result in heavy fines and long-term closures,” he warned.
In East Azerbaijan, 17 Covid-19 patients had died between October 25 and October 26, reported Dr. Mohammad Hossein Sumi, president of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. He said in the same time period, a new record was broken regarding hospitalizations in the province. In the last 24 hours, 294 new coronavirus patients were hospitalized in East Azerbaijan, the highest number in the last eight months. As of October 26, a total of 1,298 people were hospitalized across the province. He also reported that 10 “prominent and active” doctors were among them after becoming infected with coronavirus.
No flu vaccine has been made available to pharmacies in Alborz province, said Mehrdad Babaei, a spokesman for Alborz University of Medical Sciences. According to him, currently 810 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized across the province and, with the death of 17 patients in the last 24 hours, the total death toll in Alborz rose to 1,858.
For the last two months health ministry officials have promised that “enough” flu vaccines would be distributed “soon” but, as of October 26, these promises remained unfulfilled.
Iran’s Latest Coronavirus Statistics
In her daily briefing for October 26, the health ministry spokeswoman Dr. Sima Sadat Lari announced the official coronavirus statistics for the last 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