Coronavirus: in Iran, the second wave has already arrived

3,117 new cases in 24 hours. Iran reached a peak in coronavirus contamination on Tuesday that it had not experienced since March 30, at the height of the epidemic which affected more than 160,000 Iranians and left more than 8,000 dead . The day before, the Iranian Ministry of Health had registered 81 deaths, the highest death toll since April 27.

This dramatic increase in the number of infections comes as the Islamic Republic, which began its gradual deconfinement two months ago to save its already suffering economy, completed its final phase of lifting restrictions on May 30. This Saturday, all Iranian officials returned to the office and collective prayers were again authorized in the 40,000 mosques in the country. Last week, restaurants and gyms had already reopened.

Read also In Iran, the time is already for reconfinement

” Critical situation “

According to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, the health situation in the country “is no longer fragile” and the spread of the virus would decrease. The chief executive says in particular based on the reproduction rate of Covid-19 which, after being greater than 2, fell below 1. “Despite the statements of the president, the figures clearly show a second peak d ‘infections’, confides from Tehran a journalist who closely follows the evolution of the pandemic. “Now, he nuances, it should be known that the health authorities now also take into account the cases of persons not hospitalized, and keep in memory that the first wave of contaminations which struck Iran was undoubtedly undervalued due to the lack of large-scale testing, which is nevertheless in line with the current improvement of the situation. “

If life has indeed resumed its normal course across Iran, nine provinces would still be in a “critical situation”, in the words of Kianouch Jahanpour, the spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Health: acts of Khorasan Razavi (North-East), Mazadaran (North), Western and Eastern Azerbaijan (North-West), Kurdistan (West), Kermanshah (West), Lorestan (West), Hormozgan ( South) and Khouzestan (South-West).

Read also Coronavirus: Iran forced to deconfinement

The only region classified as “red” by the Iranian authorities (highest level of risk), the latter province underwent restructuring measures on May 11 (closure of administrative services, banks and non-essential businesses and travel restrictions) after the the number of contaminations had tripled there. Iranian officials primarily question the attitude of the population, which is said to be reluctant to apply measures of social distancing. “We implored people not to organize weddings or funerals, but they did not listen,” said Iranian Minister of Health Said Namaki on Monday in an interview on state television. “One of my main concerns is that the population has taken over [un comportement] normal despite the coronavirus. According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Health, compliance with barrier gestures has dropped from 90% to 40% in the country’s major cities, and many Iranians are no longer wearing protective masks in transport in common.

Criticism in government

Rarely, the Iranian Minister of Health has also linked the increase in contamination to the attitude of certain members of the government. “Unfortunately, some officials are also affected by this illusion [au sujet du Covid-19] “, He stressed. “They keep pressuring me to open here and there. This gentleman from this headquarters or this gentleman from this department believes that everything has returned to normal. “And the Minister to warn all of his fellow citizens:” If we continue like this, the coronavirus will score us a goal at 90e minute. “

Read also Coronavirus in Iran: why the crisis is more serious than announced

The haste of the executive to deconfigure at all costs the country as early as April, two months after the official appearance of the virus, had already aroused protests in the Iranian scientific circles, some members of which considered this decision , arriving too early, could cause a second wave of contamination. But President Hassan Rohani had remained deaf to critics, arguing that the gradual revival of activity was vital to keep the Iranian economy afloat, already suffocated by American sanctions.

American sanctions

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Iran’s gross domestic product is expected to contract by 6% this year. The Iranian currency (the touman) has already lost two thirds of its value against the dollar and inflation is now close to 40%. The state’s first recipe, Iranian oil exports plunged from 2.8 million barrels per day in May 2018 to a few hundred thousand today. In addition, inflows are suffering from the unprecedented fall in the price of oil due to the pandemic.

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According to government estimates, the Covid-19 crisis has already cost the Iranian economy close to $ 2.5 billion, while the executive plans a $ 4.4 billion rescue plan, particularly at destination SMEs. “The government is forced to lift the restrictions because of the economic problems associated with US sanctions, the oil crisis and unemployment caused by the coronavirus epidemic,” said an academic who requested anonymity from Tehran. “Iran no longer had the social capacity to keep stores and businesses closed. “

Cruel dilemma

The fact remains that the 80 million Iranians are today faced with a cruel dilemma summarized by this tweet, which compares the number of contaminations on April 11 (3,200), at the height of the epidemic. , to that of June 4 (3,100). “Why did they say in April that classes will not resume when I have to go to work / class in three days and the numbers have not gone down?” »Asks the Iranian user Jalinouks, before launching to its leaders:« We have reached the second peak! Understand it. “

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