Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian tests positive for Covid-19

Health minister says it is 'certain' that Iran will witness a surge in cases this month

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has tested positive for coronavirus.

The country's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Mr Amirabdollahian is doing well and will be continuing to work while in quarantine.

The minister most recently hosted a summit with neighbouring nations to discuss the future of Afghanistan and the region's stability.

Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, is on the verge of its sixth wave of Covid-19 despite an accelerated vaccination programme. Health Minister Bahram Einollahi said it is "certain" Iran would experience a surge in cases this month.

According to Iranian Health Ministry data, since the start of the pandemic nearly 125,000 people have died, while more than 5.8 million cases have been reported.

Despite daily deaths falling since a peak of 709 this summer, nearly 10,000 new Covid-19 cases are detected and 105 people die every day.

Iran's inability to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus is largely attributed to a slow vaccination programme and its failure to enforce a strict lockdown. The government was reluctant to order lockdowns given the dire economic situation that would hit struggling Iranians and the economy as a whole.

Iran's government opted for more limited lockdowns focused on specific regions, largely allowing Iranians to go to back work rather than focusing on containing the virus. President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to prioritise the fight against Covid-19.

Sanctions and domestic government policy also slowed Iran's ability to get access to vaccines. Almost a year since inoculations became available, Iran has still vaccinated only 75 per cent of its target population with one dose.

Iran is set to start nuclear talks with Europe and the US later this month to get some relief from economic sanctions.

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 10:31 AM
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