Tighter Border Control Stressed Amid New Covid Variant Concerns

Tighter Border Control Stressed Amid New Covid Variant Concerns
Tighter Border Control Stressed Amid New Covid Variant Concerns

President Ebrahim Raeisi on Saturday sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of a new coronavirus variant named Omicron and underscored need to tighten air, land and sea control to prevent the mutation from entering the country. 
“Border control, especially through eastern borders, is essential and it should be exercised carefully alongside quarantines,” Raeisi was quoted as saying by 
On Friday, the World Health Organization designated Omicron as a variant of concern as dozens of countries around the world restricted travelers from South Africa where the virus first emerged. 
It is the most divergent variant yet, marked by 30 changes in the spike protein. It has already been detected in Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana and Belgium. 
A member of the National Coronavirus Headquarters, Masoud Mardani, said on Saturday that Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529, can evade current vaccines. 
“Preventive measures against the new variant must be fully implemented and following safety measures is a must,” Mardani noted.
According to the health official, the NCH is scheduled to make a decision on Omicron in a meeting on Sunday. 
The potentially more contagious Omicron has sparked fears throughout the world as scientists are trying to figure out the extent of increase in transmissibility of the variant. 
The new variant is quickly becoming the dominant mutation in South Africa. The Health Ministry Center for Infectious Disease Control asked the Iranian people on Saturday to postpone travel to South Africa and neighboring nations until further notice.




Mardani said that it is crucial to get as many people vaccinated as possible before Omicron hits Iran as healthcare personnel are not prepared to tackle another wave of the disease.
The Health Ministry gave out 324,000 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of shots administered to 104.6 million. 
So far, more than 57.3 million people have received a first dose and 46.3 million are fully vaccinated. Some 948,000 have been given a booster shot to further build immunity in their bodies. 
For the fourth day in a row, the Health Ministry reported less than 100 overnight deaths that pushed the national toll to 129,500. 
It also registered 3,000 new infections that took the tally of cases to 6.1 million. 
Over the past day, 10 provinces logged zero or only one mortality due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Experts attribute the success to high vaccination coverage rates.
Worldwide Covid-19 cases rose to 261 million on Saturday as deaths caused by the respiratory illness reached 5.21 million. 

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