A man disinfects the shrine of Saint Masoumeh against coronavirus in the city of Qom, Feb 25, 2020. (AP)

August 19, 2021

Several Covid-19 vaccination centers in Iran will be closed during Shiite Ashura mourning days this week despite a serious surge in the pandemic and promises by the health ministry to accelerate vaccinations.

This week marks one of the most important mourning periods for Shiites, which is the death anniversary of the Imam Hussein in the 7th century. At the same time, there is a nationwide shutdown to slow down the Covid pandemic, which has brought record numbers of deaths in the past one week.

Iran’s vaccination program has progressed slowly because of an earlier ban by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on purchasing American and British vaccines. Less than five percent of the 85-million population has received the required two doses.

Mourning processions by religious groups, which led to controversy last week, continue, with police saying they cannot prevent marchers and religious gatherings that break Covid distancing rules. Some health officials have warned that the negative impact of these gatherings will emerge in the coming weeks when more people are infected with the coronavirus.

The government official news website IRNA reported on Wednesday that hospitals are full in some cities and many patients have to battle the disease at home, but finding oxygen tanks is difficult and costs a lot more than in ordinary times.

Iran International

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.