1023 GMT April 21, 2021
Most parts of Iran are witnessing an outburst of infections with the UK strain of the coronavirus and the country’s intensive care units are filled to the brim.
The remarks were made on Tuesday by Masoud Mardani, a member of the scientific committee of the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus, IRNA reported.
He regretted the entire country is grappling with a critical and worrying situation and said the number of infections is sharply increasing, with most of the country’s coronavirus wards running out of beds and ICUs already fully packed.
Mardani said one third of the Iranian cities are coded red in terms of the spread of the virus and a far bigger part of the country is coded orange, adding the upward trend in infections is currently continuing.
According to the Iranian Health Ministry, 88 cities are coded red, 139 are in the orange zone, 198 are coded yellow and 23 are blue.
COVID cases, deaths
The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday over 17,400 new coronavirus cases have been detected in Iran during the past 24 hours, according to Tasnim News Agency.
The ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told a daily press conference that the total number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Iran surpassed 1,963,000 after the detection of 17,430 new cases since yesterday.
Of the newly detected cases, 2,369 patients have been hospitalized, she added.
Among those currently undergoing treatment in medical centers across the country, 4,138 coronavirus patients are in critical condition, Lari said.
She put the total death toll from COVID-19 in Iran at 63,506, saying the disease took the lives of 174 patients over the past 24 hours.
At least 1,667,000 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across Iran, the spokeswoman said.
Lari added that more than 13.25 million coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in Iran.
The number of people infected with coronavirus across the world has surpassed 132 million, with the death toll exceeding 2.87 million.
On Tuesday, Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi announced that of the nine COVID-19 vaccines that are under development in Iran, the first homemade jab will be available within 40 days.
He made the remark in a meeting with Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Dato' Kamarudin Jaffar, adding Iranian researchers have been successful in developing nine vaccines, of which four will be distributed in coming months.
Harirchi noted that the second domestically developed vaccine will be available in around 70 days, putting the country’s capacity to produce the jab at eight to 10 million doses per month.
The third and fourth vaccines, he said, will be distributed within 120 days, noting that Iran and Malaysia can cooperate in the production of COVID-19 jabs.
Commenting on the negative impacts of US sanctions on Iran since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he said 98.3 percent of the pharmaceuticals used in the country are produced domestically.
The deputy minister expressed the Islamic Republic's willingness to expand relations and cooperation with the Islamic country of Malaysia in political, cultural, economic, trade and health sectors.
He also underlined that officials from both countries have exchanged experiences on ways to control the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed issues of mutual interests in phone conversations.