Tehran, July 5: The Delta variant of COVID-19 has spread to much of Iran, including the capital Tehran. The new variant of the virus entered Iran from its eastern and southeastern borders and has triggered a jump in the cases, the Iranian national headquarters fighting COVID-19 has announced.
"Given the highly infectious nature of this (new variant of) virus, it can further raise cases and hospitalisations," Alireza Raisi, spokesman of the headquarters, was quoted as saying on Sunday by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA), Xinhua reported. Covaxin COVID-19 Vaccine Shows 77.8% Overall Efficacy, 65.2% Protection Against Delta Variant, Claims Bharat Biotech in Results From Phase 3 Clinical Trials
In Iran, at least 92 cities, including Tehran, have been placed on red alert and 183 others on orange, according to the Iranian health authorities.
The restrictions in cities on red alert need to be reinstated, with "at most 30 percent of government employees allowed in the workplace," said Raisi, according to a daily.
Meanwhile, all the non-essential businesses are required to close down and travels to and from provinces coded as red and orange is also banned, he added.
During a meeting of the national headquarters fighting COVID-19 on Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said recent election campaigns, especially those held for city council elections, alongside some other occasions for social gathering, triggered the spike in COVID-19 cases.
"We're in a unique coronavirus situation ... We're on our way to see an increase in cases," Rouhani said, calling the new surge the fifth wave of the outbreak in Iran.
The Iranian Health Ministry has announced the increase in inoculation in the coming weeks to immunize all vulnerable groups.
On Sunday, media reported that the Iranians are in a rush to visit the northern neighbour of Armenia as it has announced free vaccination for tourists.
By Sunday, Iran has reported a total of 3,254,818 COVID-19 cases since its outbreak in the country in February 2020, including 84,792 deaths.
Meanwhile, 4,463,565 Iranians have received the first dose of vaccines in the country, while 1,988,380 have taken both doses.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 05, 2021 08:38 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).