President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned of a “fourth wave” of COVID-19 in Iran, after an increase in the number of cases in parts of this Middle Eastern country most affected by the pandemic.
“It’s a warning to all of us,” Rohani said at the weekly meeting of the coronavirus committee.
Some towns in Khuzestan province, in the southwest of the country, are now “red” zones, after several weeks of low levels of contamination throughout the country, he warned.
“This means that we are heading towards the fourth wave. We must all be vigilant to avoid this ”, underlined Mr. Rohani.
Iran is the country in the Middle East hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with nearly 59,000 deaths out of more than 1.5 million people infected.
The Islamic Republic has officially recorded less than 7,000 daily infections since the end of December, but this threshold was again crossed in early February.
The number of deaths per day remains below 100, the lowest level since June
Mr. Rohani’s statements come the day after receiving 100,000 additional doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, “ahead of schedule,” according to Kianoush Jahanpour, head of public relations at the Ministry of Health.
The vaccination campaign began on Tuesday, after the delivery of the first batch of the Russian vaccine on February 4. Iran has bought a total of two million doses of Sputnik V, according to Jahanpour.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki said Iran will also receive 4.2 million doses of the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine, purchased through the international Covax mechanism, intended to deliver vaccines to the most disadvantaged countries.
Iran also began clinical trials of its own vaccine in December.