Iran imposed a 10-day blockade in most parts of the country on Saturday, curbing the spread of the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.
The blockade will affect 23 of the country’s 31 states, said Alireza Raisi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health. During Ramadan’s holy fasting month, which begins Wednesday, businesses, schools, theaters and sports facilities have been forced to close and rallies are prohibited.
According to the Ministry of Health, the number of cases of coronavirus in Iran exceeds 2 million, and the average number of infections in the past week exceeds 20,000 per day. More than 64,000 deaths have been reported.
“Unfortunately, we have entered the fourth wave today,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a television statement. He first blamed the surge of varieties that first appeared in Britain, which spread from neighboring Iraq to Iran earlier this year.
Other factors include a wide range of Iran’s New Year holidays, weddings and celebrations that began on March 20, he said.
According to Raisi, British variants are now dominant in the country, with 257 cities and towns on alert.
Iran was the epicenter of a pandemic in the Middle East. In February, it closed several intersections with Iraq to stop the epidemic of British variants.
The national vaccination drive is also slowly progressing.
Tehran says it has received more than 400,000 of the 2 million Sputnik V vaccines ordered from Russia and is awaiting delivery of 4.2 million AstraZeneca shots.
We also received 250,000 Chinese Sinopharm vaccines and 500,000 Indian COVAXIN.
With a population of 83 million, Iran wanted to secure more than 2 million vaccines by March 20, primarily for vaccination of health care workers. We are developing at least four local vaccine candidates, one of which is working with Cuba and will be in production within the next few months.