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Iran’s health minister says the country is practically in a sixth wave of coronavirus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s health minister Einollahi says a sixth wave of coronavirus pandemic has started in the country.

Iran’s health minister Bahram Einollahi has declared the start of a new wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country as hospitals report increasing number of referrals with infections related to the Omicron variant of the virus.

“Unfortunately we should declare that we have practically stepped into the sixth wave with the rise in hospitalization and outpatient cases,” Einollahi wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

The minister urged more caution against the disease and said getting booster vaccinations could play a major role in preventing a fresh surge in number of deaths and infections from the virus.

The announcement came as figures published on the website of the Iranian health ministry on Thursday showed that the number of deaths from coronavirus had increased to 30 from a caseload of 14,285 reported over the past 24 hours.

The figures showed that the daily number of hospitalization cases had soared to 836 while nearly 1,300 patients were in intensive care wards in hospitals because of the disease.

That comes as Iran had experienced a sharp decline in number of deaths and infections from coronavirus in recent weeks mainly thanks to an extensive vaccination campaign against the disease.

However, authorities have been unhappy with the slow pace of booster shot delivery amid concerns that the Omicron variant of coronavirus could spread fast and overwhelm hospitals in the country.  

Figures published on Thursday showed that number of booster shots delivered to people’s arms in Iran had reached nearly 16 million.

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