The number of new daily coronavirus infections in Iran is likely to pass 100,000 again in the next few weeks, health officials have warned. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant combined with low nationwide testing capacity means even this figure is likely to be an understatement.
Ebrahim Ghaderi, head of patient care at the Ministry of Health's Center for Infectious Disease Management, confirmed on Tuesday that the total number of Omicron patients was up to five times higher than that announced each day by the Health Ministry (28,995 on Monday): “We are back in an epidemic stage.”
Ghaderi added that the limited supply of tests capable of picking up Omicron in Iran was being offered to patients based on specific criteria. In addition, he said, “70 or 80 percent of patients only have mild symptoms and some do not go to see a doctor."
Massoud Younesian, head of epidemiology at the National Coronavirus Taskforce’s scientific committee, also said he expected recorded deaths from Covid-19 to return to “three-digit figures” this week. He added that vaccination coverage in Iran was “inadequate” and deaths from Omicron could be significantly higher than in the previous wave.