Amid a resurgence of covid-19 pandemic and the growing fatalities in Iran, mourning ceremonies of the Islamic month of Muharram were held with no restrictions, except for the Supreme Leader.
While the Shiite mourning ceremonies were held privately for Ali Khamenei, similar to the past two years in fear of the spread of the coronavirus, authorities did not announce any measures for the large gatherings across the country.
The highlight of the month-long ceremonies of Muharram are the Days of Tasu'a and Ashura, the anniversary of the slaying of Shiite Imam Hussein and his 72 companions. Ceremonies have been held for centuries in Iran and among Shiites in other countries, marking the event in the 680 AD battle of Karbala, in present-day Iraq, and have gained greater state support since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The number of infections and deaths caused by the virus has doubled in the last two weeks, and it is expected that this upward trend will continue in the coming days. The Health Ministry said the number of new patients on Sunday, August 9, was at around 5,500 and the death toll at 63.
In July, the government organized a “10-kilometer-long” ceremony to celebrate a religious holiday in Tehran as health authorities had announced the seventh wave of the pandemic.
According to epidemiologists, two new subvariant of Omicron, namely BA4 and BA5 -- which started in the African continent -- may soon prevail over the country.
The number of overall deaths in Iran since Covid-19 emerged in February 2020 has been 300,000 higher than in previous years, suggesting pandemic deaths may be more than officially reported.
Iran has reported nearly 143,000 deaths from Covid, the Middle East’s highest official level, leaving 160,000 more deaths unexplained.