Iran marks one year of pandemic amid fears over fourth wave

Tehran, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- One year after the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in Iran, authorities are concerned about the so-called British strain and the arrival of a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, as the government tries to boost its vaccination campaign.

The first official announcement of the presence of the new coronavirus in the country came on February 19 last year, when the Ministry of Health reported that two people had died in the city of Qom and that it was not clear how they were infected since they had not traveled abroad.

Subsequently, most neighboring countries closed their borders with the Islamic Republic and airlines suspended flights, leaving the country isolated while the pandemic remained a distant problem for the rest of the world, although not for long.

Now, after more than 59,000 deaths, 1.5 million people infected and three waves with different kinds of restrictions and lockdowns, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has asked the population to “strictly comply with health protocols to avoid the start of a new wave of Covid-19” in the country.

Flights with the United Kingdom were suspended at the end of December and that measure has been extended until March 10, when it could be lengthened again, according to the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization.

Iran is also focusing on accelerating the vaccination campaign, which started this month with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V inoculated to health workers who work on the front line.

The country is also making every effort to develop its own vaccines. The most advanced, in phase three of clinical trials, is one developed in cooperation with Havana, the Cuban candidate Soberana 02. EFE-EPA


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