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Tehran, Iran As the number of COVID-19 cases rose sharply before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Iranian government blocked Tehran and neighboring Alberta provinces for six days starting from Tuesday.

Iran celebrates the Muslim holiday on Wednesday, and the next two days are the country’s weekends, which usually prompts millions of people to travel to cooler provinces in the north of the country.

More than 200 deaths a day in July — about half of which were recorded in the capital — and more than 25,000 cases a day — the highest number since April — prompted the authorities to implement a lockdown that will last until Sunday.

Since the country confirmed the emergence of the coronavirus in February 2020, Iran has registered more than 87,000 deaths, making it an The deadliest outbreak the Middle East.

Iranians wear masks in the capital Tehran [Atta Kenare/AFP]

Officials say the highly contagious delta variant of the virus now dominates the country and is currently responding to the fifth wave of pandemic. Officials said that at the same time, compliance with health procedures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing has fallen from more than 70% last month to less than 50%.

Earlier this month, Tehran once again became a severely restricted “red” zone, with health agreements stipulating that only emergency services can operate. But the local reality is hardly different from normal days in the capital, because shops and cafes are still open, and the bustling city is crowded due to poor implementation of the agreement.

This has led to medical professionals trigger the alarm The new images from the flooded hospital show that the patient has to lie on the ground or in the yard.

Lock condition

Terrible economic conditions, including rampant inflation caused by the United States Sanctions Local mismanagement has led to lax implementation of the agreement to a certain extent, because the state is unable to pay citizens to stay indoors.

However, in order to provide at least temporary relief in the rapidly deteriorating situation, the government now appears to be more serious about imposing a six-day blockade on the two provinces.

Government offices and banks were closed, and all religious activities celebrating Eid al-Fitr were banned. All cultural events have been cancelled and the park must remain closed.

Traffic police prohibit local passengers from leaving the city and prevent non-local vehicles from entering the two blocked provinces. However, on Monday, countless people tried to use the last day before the blockade to escape from the province, causing highway congestion.

A picture on Tuesday showed that a major highway connecting Tehran and the northern provinces was still crowded with cars, but this time traffic police closed the highway and forced the vehicles to return. The police said that as of noon on Tuesday, they had returned nearly 3,000 vehicles.

As Tehran suppliers stubbornly remained open during the previous shutdown, it remains to be seen whether companies will pay attention to the latest blockade. A video circulated from the Tehran subway system on Tuesday showed that thousands of people were still crowded in the station.

The night curfew from 10pm to 3am introduced a few months ago should also take effect.

With the blockade, the authorities also hope to get some probation in dealing with the country’s strained power grid, which was caused by mismanagement. The worst power outage In the most recent memory of this summer.

Several provinces, including Khuzestan, have also experienced water shortages, and there have been five nights of protests in the province. Become deadly, Resulting in at least two deaths.

Vaccine launch

Due to the problem of fund transfer caused by US sanctions, Iran’s vaccination work has gradually accelerated in the past two weeks as more vaccines are imported into the country.

More than 5.5 million doses have been injected, most of which are imported from Sinopharm Group, followed by at least 1.7 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca injections from the global COVAX program. Iran also imports vaccines from Russia, India and Cuba.

COVIran Barekat, the country’s First local development Jab received emergency use authorization last month and is now slowly entering a vaccine program to be launched nationwide. Its developers are linked to a powerful organization led by Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei, claiming that it is more than 90% effective and can also fight against Delta variants.

A bottle of Iranian-made COVID-19 vaccine COVIran Barekat [AFP]

Several other local candidate vaccines are undergoing human trials at different stages and are expected to play an important role in vaccinating Iran’s 83 million people.

The government started registering vaccinations for citizens over 60 years old last week, and is vaccinating people over 50 years old in some of the worst-hit areas in the south, such as Sistan and Baluchistan. The COVID-19 situation in these areas is worse than that of the entire neighbourhood. Pakistan is even more serious.

The authorities stated that they have prepared more than 5 million vaccines and can vaccinate more than 60 citizens without any problems. However, the Ministry of Health is still subject to many public criticisms for its handling of the pandemic and slow introduction of vaccines, and videos of overcrowded vaccination centers continue to circulate on social media.



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