Omicron Cases on the Rise

Omicron Cases on the Rise
Omicron Cases on the Rise

Iran identified its 26th case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Monday, only one week after the first infection was reported in a recent traveler to the United Arab Emirates.
Head of the Health Ministry’s Center for Infectious Disease Control, Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, said the variant is in initial phases in Iran, IRNA reported.
“We hope to prevent its explosive spread,” the official said.
The Omicron variant, named B.1.1.529, was first found in South Africa on November 24. Data gathered by the World Health Organization showed that the 50 mutations of the variant make it highly transmissible. 
According to WHO, the new variant can double infections in 1.5 to three days as countries around the world register daily tallies higher than the peak of the Delta wave.
All health centers and government agencies have been placed on full alert, Gouya said. 
“By yesterday, we identified 26 cases infected with Omicron, 12 suspected cases are being analyzed right now,” he added.
Gouya urged anyone over the age of 18 who received the second shot three months ago to get booster shots as soon as possible. 
A member of the national Covid-19 science committee, Masoud Younesian, warned eight million Iranians have not been immunized against the disease yet. 



Possible Return to Restrictions 

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Monday that an Omicron surge could result in a return of restrictive measures to prevent an explosion of cases. 
“If the Omicron variant spreads, we might be forced to impose new restrictions,” the minister said. 
Early data on the mutation suggests that Omicron is less likely to kill or cause severe illness but that it can spread much faster than previous variants. 
According to Younesian, Iran’s data is based on hospitalizations and fatalities while numbers on outpatients could deliver a more accurate understanding of the extent of transmission rates. 
The Health Ministry announced on Monday that 34 patients had died from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, the lowest overnight toll in the past 580 days. 
The ministry also registered 1,900 new infections, bringing the national tally to 6.186 million. 
Iran is ramping up vaccination rates to avoid another wave of the disease. So far, some 59.5 million people have been administered a first shot and 51.4 million have been fully vaccinated. 
Over 5.9 million of the most vulnerable to the contagion have received booster shots. 

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