Financial Tribune – The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak crossed 11,000 on Friday, as nearly half of the country’s provinces registered an alarming number of fresh cases.
Fatalities caused by the viral infection totaled 154 during a 24-hour period, according to Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari, taking the death toll to 11,260, ISNA reported.
While during the past month, mostly western and southern regions of Iran reported high Covid-19 casualties, Lari’s daily briefing suggests that the virus is now spreading relentlessly throughout the nation.
“The provinces of Tehran, Fars, Mazandaran, Hamedan, Zanjan, Sistan-Baluchestan and Alborz registered alarming coronavirus cases,” Lari said.
Some seven provinces, including Ilam and Kermanshah, are in a state of emergency, she added.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani zoned the country into three categories based on the extent of coronavirus transmissions, marking them “red”, “yellow”, and “white”.
Deputy Health Minister Qasem Jan-Babaei pointed out that “white” or low-risk counties are major causes of concern since “the pandemic is yet to peak in those regions”.
The deputy minister noted that there is no clear-cut definition for the zones, as “the distinctions are relative”, he said.
Patients in critical condition hit an all-time high on Friday, occupying 3,123 beds in intensive care units. Over 2,560 were diagnosed with the respiratory illness on Friday, bringing Iran’s caseload to 235,429. Nearly 60% of new cases required hospitalization.
The country has so far administered 1.74 million PCR tests to identify infected individuals. More than 196,000 have recovered.
Iran has one of the highest recovery rates in the world.
At a coronavirus taskforce meeting on Thursday, Rouhani said “red” areas, where the situation is alarming, will be placed under lockdown to keep the country’s economy afloat while curbing the pandemic.
The president said targeted restrictions will be imposed in “red” and “emergency” areas and there will be no nationwide quarantine.
Rouhani also discussed the recent spike in infections and fatalities, pointing to gatherings such as parties, weddings and funerals as the main cause.
According to the president, disregard for social distancing in public transport systems is another reason for the resurgence of the contagion, which calls for increased supervision.
Rouhani expressed satisfaction that places of business played a “minor” role in the recent eruption of health crisis.
Since mid-April, his administration began to roll back confinement measures and placed focus on health protocols in the workplace that could replace the shutdowns.
Over 11 million have contracted the disease globally, and at least 525,000 have lost their lives.