Iran’s health minister has warned about the possibility of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, spreading in the country but did not announce any travel bans.
Bahram Einollahi told local media that “despite all precautions” the spread of the new strain is a possibility, and the government will closely monitor the situation. He visited Tehran’s international airport on Saturday to review screening procedures.
Iran was the second country after China in early 2020 where the coronavirus spread and became an epidemic. There have been more than 6 million cases and 130,000 deaths according to official figures, disputed by critics who say the death toll could be twice higher than what the government says.
A slow start to vaccination led to tens of thousands of more deaths from June to September in Iran but the fifth wave of the pandemic, as it was called, has slowed down in recent weeks.
Iran’s embassy in South Africa has warned citizens living in six African countries to be vigilant about protecting themselves against the coronavirus. These countries are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini. A health official in Iran also warned citizens from travelling to these countries.