The coronavirus Omicron variant is fast spreading across Iran, with reports of Covid patient numbers rising from two to five times in some cities.
A health official in the city of Ahvaz said on Wednesday that the number of patients in the east of the city has risen five times compared with previous week and another report put the country’s average increase at 175 percent in the past three days.
Health ministry officials in provinces of Esfahan and Kerman also reported sharp rises in the number of cases, while an official from Qom province said that the number of Covid-19 patients is increasing exponentially because over 30 percent of the people in the province have not even received their first vaccine shot.
As the number of hospitalizations has jumped by 77 percent throughout the country, an official from Iran’s Covid-19 taskforce, Hamidreza Jama’ati, said the next peak will hit in the next few weeks, adding that omicron is set to become the dominant type of coronavirus in Iran.
Last week, the World Bank confirmed a $90-million loan for measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in Iran, saying it is "the epicenter of Covid-19 infections in the region".
Iran, which confirmed the first Omicron case on December 19, is the worst hit country in the Middle East by at least 132,000 deaths since February 2020.