0712 GMT September 18, 2021
Seyyed Ebrahim Raeis, in his first formal meeting as Iran’s new president, received reports about plans to tackle the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the public vaccination process.
The reports were presented to Raeisi by directors of the specialized committees of the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus on Wednesday, one day after he was endorsed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei as the eighth president of the country, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The reports pertained to the implementation of the decisions made by the anti-coronavirus task force to curb the fifth wave of the COVID-19 infections, as well as adoption of regulations for holding the 10-day mourning ceremonies and religious rituals marking the martyrdom anniversary (this year falling on August 19) of Imam Hussein, the third Imam of Shia Muslims.
Raeisi was also briefed on the necessary preconditions for the reopening of the country’s universities and schools in late September and also the process of public vaccination against COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the new president said he has drawn up an immediate plan to bring about a major change and resolve the country’s problems in the short term.
According to figures by Iran’s Health Ministry, the number of the country’s daily COVID-19 infections kept increasing during the 24-hour period to Wednesday, reaching a record high of 39,357.
The Health Ministry said in a statement on the same day that the country’s daily death toll in the same duration stood at 409.
According to the statement, the total COVID-19 infections and death toll since the beginning of the outbreak in the country in late February 2020 stand at 4,019,084 and 92,194, respectively.
It added that 5,959 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition, and of the newly-detected cases, 4,263 individuals have been hospitalized.
The ministry said 3,444,798 COVID-19 patients have so far either recovered from the disease or have been discharged from hospitals.
It also announced that 26,168,347 coronavirus diagnostic tests have so far been carried out in the country, and 14,024,035 doses of COVID vaccines have been administered.
The Health Ministry said 285 cities in the country are coded red (very high-risk), while 110 are in the orange zone (high-risk).
Based on a decision by the National Task Force for Fighting the Coronavirus, travel to and from these cities is prohibited.
The number of the country’s yellow (medium-risk) and blue (low-risk) cities are 53 and zero, respectively, according to the ministry.
Iran has been grappling with a fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic since a few weeks ago, mainly sparked by the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant, known as Delta.
Tehran Grand Bazaar and banks as well as all public and private organizations and offices in the Iranian capital were closed during July 20-25, in an effort to curb the pandemic in the province.
The same closures and COVID restrictions were enforced in the northern province of Alborz, neighboring Tehran.
On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei, in a letter, called on the task force to discuss a two-week national lockdown and closure to curb the fifth wave in the country, IRNA reported.
The proposal was initially put forward by Iran’s Health Minister Saeed Namaki in a letter to the Leader.
The minister suggested a two-week national lockdown and tightening supervision over compliance with the health protocols by the military and Law Enforcement Force could reduce the relentless pressure on the country’s medical staff to a significant degree.
In addition, the spokesman of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Iran Kianoush Jahanpour said in a tweet on Wednesday that 1,850,000 doses of a homemade jab, known as COVIran Barekat, have so far been handed over to the Health Ministry, according to IRNA.
The vaccine has been developed by Barakat Foundation, affiliated to the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order and is the first homegrown jab to have been approved for emergency use.