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Iranian Hospitals Overflow As Number Of Reported COVID-19 Cases Passes 4 Million


Source: RFE/RL

The number of reported coronavirus cases in Iran surpassed 4 million on August 4 amid a vicious wave of infections driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Iran registered 39,357 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total since the pandemic started to 4,019,084, the Health Ministry said. It recorded 409 deaths over the same period, bringing the official death toll to 92,194.

The real number of infections and deaths in the country of 83 million people is believed to be significantly higher.

The worst-hit country in the Middle East has struggled to contain the pandemic despite authorities imposing repeated restrictions.

The vaccine campaign has also been slow to get off the ground. More than 11 million people have received a first vaccine dose, but only 2.8 million have received the necessary two jabs, according to the Health Ministry.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered that "necessary measures" be taken on August 2 to contain what authorities warn is a "fifth wave" of the country's outbreak after Health Minister Saeed Namaki requested a two-week shutdown.

Iranian Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli said on August 4 that the proposal to shut the country needed more consideration in the coming days and that a decision would soon be made.

Incoming President Ebrahim Raisi chaired a meeting of Iran's COVID-19 task force for the first time on August 4 just a day after his inauguration, his office said.

Reports from multiple cities suggest many hospitals have reached their full capacity while health workers are being pushed to their limits due to the high number of COVID-19 patients, with intensive care stations and emergency rooms overflowing.

Iranian health officials warn that less than 40 percent of the population follows health protocols such as wearing face masks and social distancing.

With reporting by AFP, IRNA and ISNA

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