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Iran Warns Of Fourth COVID Surge Due To Mutant Virus


Source: RFE/RL

The Iranian health minister has warned about a fourth COVID-19 surge in Iran due to the spread of a mutated virus in his country.  Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani has told state television that "alarm bells were ringing for a fourth coronavirus wave" as at least nine cities and towns in southwestern Iran were declared high-risk "red" zones after a rise in cases on February 12.

In a February 13 meeting with the heads of Iranian medical colleges broadcast live on state television, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said: "Hard days are beginning for us and you must prepare to fight the most uncontrollable mutated virus which is unfortunately infecting the country."

Namaki said Iran's first three deaths this week from the virus variant that was first found in Britain -- including the death of a 71-year-old woman with no history of travel -- suggested that the mutant strain of the virus was spreading and soon "may be found in any city, village or family."

He urged Iranians to avoid gatherings in order "not to turn weddings into funerals" during what is traditionally one of the most popular wedding months in the country.

Iran started a vaccination drive on February 9, two weeks after declaring there were no "red" cities left in the country.

Based on reporting by Reuters and IRNA

Iran COVID-19 update as of February 15: 7,760 cases, 83 deaths in 24 hours

TEHRAN, Feb. 15 (Mehr News Agency) - The Iranian Health Ministry has confirmed 7,760 COVID-19 infections and 83 deaths due to the disease in the past 24 hours.

Iran's Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Lari made the announcement on Monday, saying that the number of total coronavirus cases in the country has so far reached 1,526,023 with the death toll standing at 59,028.

According to Lari, 3,704 patients are in critical condition while close to 1.3 million patients have recovered.

So far, over 10 million tests have been taken across the country to detect infected cases, she added.

According to the latest figures, more than 109 million people have so far been infected with the novel coronavirus globally, with the deaths passing 2.4 million and recoveries amounting to more than 81 million.

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