Iran has begun preparations to deal with the Omicron Covid-19 variant a top health official said Wednesday and added that its impact will be felt next week.
Nader Tavakoli, the deputy of the coronavirus task force in Tehran said hospitals and clinics are on alert and are expanding emergency room services in anticipation of more infections with Omicron.
Tavakoli said that because of the much faster infection rate of this variant, hospitals will set up quick examination facilities outside emergency rooms. He added that so far there is no uptick in patient visitations because the Omicron virus “has entered the country only recently”.
Iran confirmed the first Omicron case on Sunday, December 19, saying that two more suspected cases were under investigation. Tavakoli said that there are not sufficient kits to test every suspected case.
Iran has reportedly vaccinated about 60 percent of its 84-million population with two doses of Covid vaccines, mainly the Chinese-made Sinopharm and the Russian Sputnik-V.
Although fatal cases have been decreasing during the past few weeks due to vaccination, the Omicron may push the death rate to a new peak in the upcoming cold winter months. A new study has indicated that Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines are weaker against Omicron.