170 Counties on Red Alert as Covid-19 Cases Hit 2-Month High

170 Counties on Red Alert as Covid-19 Cases Hit 2-Month High170 Counties on Red Alert as Covid-19 Cases Hit 2-Month High

Iran’s new daily Covid-19 cases climbed to a two-month high on Monday, as the number of its counties on red alert reached a staggering 170, health officials announced.
The Health Ministry registered a single-day rise of 2,751 cases on Monday, the highest overnight tally since June 5, taking the national total to 314,786, ISNA quoted the spokeswoman for the ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, as saying.
On the spread of the contagious illness across the country, Lari said, “Currently, 170 counties in the country are on red alert and 101 are in an alarming state.”
Lari noted that each and every part of Iran is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, adding, “If a province or a county is not classified as red or alarming, it does not mean that the disease is not present in that region.”
The date for the nationwide examinations for entry to undergraduate and graduate programs will remain unchanged, Health Minister Saeed Namaki finally announced after months of lengthy debates on whether the decisive test, taken by over one million students, should be held amid the deadly health crisis.
Students will sit for the exam on August 21.
Fatalities from the novel coronavirus rose past 17,600, up by 212 compared to a day earlier, Lari said. 
Iran has carried out 2.56 million coronavirus tests to identify infected patients.
So far, over 272,000 have recovered from the viral infection and some 4,130 are in intensive care units in critical condition.



Health Protocols for the Test

On the protocols devised for the annual tests, Namaki said safety measures will differ based on each region’s climate and needs.
Facing heavy criticism for the poor implementation of health protocols during the entry test to PhD programs over the weekend, Namaki said the ministry will collaborate with lawmakers to “review” and “enforce” stricter rules.
"A 13-member team made up of eight parliament members and five ministry officials will play a supervisory role during the exam to ensure the comprehensive implementation of coronavirus instructions,” a member of the Majlis Health Commission, Mohammad Ali Mohseni Bandpey, said.
“If there was a scenario where the spread of the virus would slow in autumn or even winter, we would have postponed the test to save the lives of our country’s youth.”
Bandpey said fears of the concurrence of the influenza season with the Covid-19 pandemic have compelled authorities to hold the entry test on schedule.
The lawmaker noted that candidates will receive free facemasks and their chair will be disinfected beforehand.
According to the protocols issued by Health Ministry, candidates should be seated 1.5 to 2 meters apart, test centers should be adequately ventilated and 80% of a center’s capacity should be empty and wearing masks are mandatory.

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