Prepare for the worst, Iranians are warned as virus kills 81 in one day

Iranians wear protective face masks as they travel on the metro in Tehran on May 20, 2020. (West Asia News Agency/Ali Khara via REUTERS)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Prepare for the worst, Iranians are warned as virus kills 81 in one day

  • New fatalities raise the death toll in Iran to 7,878
  • The Islamic republic has a total of 154,445 infections

JEDDAH: Iranians were warned on Monday to expect a second and more lethal wave of the coronavirus after the regime reported nearly 3,000 new cases and 81 deaths in a single day.

“The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki said.

“If our people fail to respect the health protocols ... we must prepare ourselves for the worst situation.”

Iran reported a total of 154,445 infections on Monday, an increase of 2,979 from the previous day. The 81 new deaths took the total to 7,878.

Analysts both inside and outside the country have voiced skepticism about the official figures, and say the real toll is much higher.

Iran was slow to react to the original outbreak, and is now one of the worst-hit countries in the region. Clerics encouraged pilgrims to visit shrines in Qom and Mashad even when it was clear that they were hotbeds of the coronavirus, as a result of which it spread to Lebanon and Iraq.

Authorities began easing restrictions on movement in April after a drop in deaths, but there was a surge in infections in May and authorities had to reimpose restrictions in the southern provinces of Khuzestan and Baluchistan.

Nevertheless, government employees went back to work and mosques resumed daily prayers on Saturday as part of the relaxation of the lockdown.

Health officials have repeatedly raised the alarm for Khuzestan province on Iran’s southwestern border with Iraq. It remains “red,” the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale, and is the only province where the regime has reimposed a lockdown.

“We pleaded with the people to not hold weddings or funerals but they did not listen,” Namaki said. “If this continues, deaths can reach three digits again.

In Saudi Arabia, health chiefs reported 22 deaths related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), raising the total to 525.

The Health Ministry said there were 1,881 new cases of the disease on Monday, bringing the total to 87,142, of which 22,311 are active cases. The ministry said 1,864 patients had recently recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 64,306. Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 838,623 tests for the virus.

Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 6.3 million people and killed nearly 375,000.


Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility not damaged after ‘incident’

Updated 02 July 2020

Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility not damaged after ‘incident’

  • But there was no damage to Natanz nuclear reactor

DUBAI: An “incident” has occurred at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility but no damage was caused and the site is operating as usual, the national Atomic Energy Organization said on Thursday.

The Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, covering 100,000 square meters and built eight meters underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by the UN nuclear watchdog.

“The incident took place in a facility in an open area near Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. There were no casualties or damages and the nuclear site is operating as usual,” the agency’s spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi, was quoted as saying by Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the incident, he said. No further details were given.