Iran says coronavirus deaths cross 12,000 mark

Amirali, a boy suspected to be infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is treated at Mofid children's hospital, in Tehran, Iran, July 8, 2020. (West Asia News Agency/Reuters)
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Updated 08 July 2020

Iran says coronavirus deaths cross 12,000 mark

  • Iran has been battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the virus since late February

TEHRAN: Iran said on Wednesday that its deaths from the novel coronavirus had surpassed 12,000, with authorities considering reimposing restrictive measures in Tehran to contain a resurgence of the disease.
It came a day after the Islamic republic reported its highest single-day fatality count of 200 from the COVID-19 illness.
Iran has been battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the virus since late February.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that another 153 deaths had been recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 12,084.
She said total cases had risen to 248,379 with 2,691 more people testing positive.
Nine of Iran’s 31 provinces are now classified as “red,” the highest category in the country’s virus risk scaling.
Another 10 are on alert including the capital Tehran and the surrounding province, Lari added.
“Tehran is facing a very fragile situation,” said Alireza Zali, the head of the city’s virus taskforce.
“The number of infections, deaths and hospitalizations have been on a sharp rising trajectory in the past 10 days,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Iran closed schools, canceled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
Zali said that Tehran needs “more restrictive measures” to contain the virus and will discuss their reimposition in an emergency meeting with the health minister.
His deputy, Ali Maher, told ISNA that measures may be reintroduced as soon as Saturday.
Some red provinces have already reimposed restrictions in recent weeks after receiving a green light from the government.


Doctors say Turkish COVID-19 outbreak worse than reported as hospitalizations swell

Updated 22 min 14 sec ago

Doctors say Turkish COVID-19 outbreak worse than reported as hospitalizations swell

  • In Ankara, Ali Karakoc, general secretary of its Medics’ Chamber, said roughly 1,000 people test positive in the capital each day
  • He blamed what he called a premature easing of lockdown measures in June

ISTANBUL: Doctors in Turkey’s coronavirus hotspots say hospitals are filling up with more cases than are reflected in the official nationwide count, which resurged above 1,000 this week.
Intensive care units (ICUs) and emergency rooms in hospitals set aside for COVID-19 patients are at capacity in the capital Ankara and the southeastern city of Gaziantep, medics associations from those regions told Reuters this week.
The government, which lifted a partial lockdown in June to restart the economy, sounded its own warning on Tuesday when the health minister described the 1,083 new COVID-19 cases as a “severe” rise after a four-day holiday weekend.
In response, authorities rolled out new inspections and enforcement measures, including fines for not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing. New cases had hovered just below 1,000 for more than three weeks, according to official figures.
But Aysegul Ates Tarla, head of the Gaziantep-Kilis Medics’ Chamber, said a single hospital in the region logged 200 new COVID-19 cases in one day recently, with the infection rate among health workers especially high.
In Ankara, Ali Karakoc, general secretary of its Medics’ Chamber, said roughly 1,000 people test positive in the capital each day and he blamed what he called a premature easing of lockdown measures in June.
“Patients are being made to wait on gurneys for hours or are being sent home. Even those who have pneumonia are sent home because they cannot find a place,” he said, adding COVID-dedicated beds were now full.
The health ministry, which divides cases by regions in daily updates, was not immediately available for comment.
According to a document seen by Reuters, Ankara’s provincial health authority requested all hospitals set aside 50% of clinic beds and all empty ICU beds for COVID-19, and asked for delays in all elective surgeries and admissions for internal medicine.
Separately, the authority said 63% of ICU beds in Ankara were occupied while 50% of all hospital beds were occupied. “The pandemic is still under control in our province,” it said.
Official figures indicate the new coronavirus has killed 5,765 people and infected 234,934 in Turkey, putting the country 17th globally in a Reuters tally of total cases.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s government has lobbied hard for countries to allow tourists to visit Turkey again to shore up the economy, and on Tuesday Germany lifted travel warnings for some Turkish regions.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said the bump in cases is due mainly to individuals ignoring rules.
In July, he posted a photo on Twitter of tightly packed soccer fans watching a game with the question: “Did everyone hold their breath for 90 minutes?“
The government said Thursday would mark the most intensive inspections to date of marketplaces, businesses, restaurants and other public areas.
Karakoc of the Ankara medics group said the government could do more. “If you let people sit side by side on public transportation, if you make them work shoulder to shoulder in factories, people will ignore it when you warn them,” he said.
In Gaziantep, Ates Tarla said authorities would probably raise the bed capacity in COVID-19 units by 25% to free up space ahead of what she expects will be a jump in infections two weeks after the holiday.