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How COVID Affects Preparations for Iran’s Presidential Election | Coronavirus Pandemic News

Tehran, Iran As the country continues to fight the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election is scheduled to be held in Iran on Friday.

Iran is the deadliest break out In the Middle East, more than 3 million cases have been reported, including 82,000 deaths.

Fourth wave of infection Already reported Soon after the Nowruz New Year holiday in late March allowed tens of millions of Iranians to travel domestically, a new strain of the virus entered the country.

Although the daily cases have been reduced to about one-third of the peak, more than 100 people still die every day due to the slow introduction of the vaccine.

Due to the disillusionment of the public, the general disqualification of reformers and moderate candidates, and the pandemic, it is expected that the presidential election, as well as the polls of city and village councils, parliaments, and expert meetings will be low.

COVID has had a major impact on the formation of the electoral cycle pattern.

Supporters of Presidential Candidate Ibrahim Raisi participate in an election rally in Tehran [File: Majid Asgaripour/Reuters]

The health agreement of the National Anti-Coronavirus Headquarters stated that election rallies and speeches can only be held in outdoor spaces such as stadiums and schools, provided that everyone has 8 square meters of space, the venue is operated at 30% of the capacity, and masks must be worn. The activities are limited. Two hours.

For cities that are classified as “red” by the color coding level that indicates the severity of the epidemic, the number of indoor parties is limited to 15 people, while the number of “orange” people is limited to 20, and the number of “yellow” people is limited to 30.

But these agreements have been broken because some candidates’ open-air gatherings did not comply with physical distance requirements.

Front runner Ebrahim Raisi held a large rally in the southwestern city of Ahwaz last week. The pictures showed thousands of people crowded together, some of whom were not wearing masks.

When asked, Raisi said he had obtained a permit, and although the National Coronavirus Headquarters stated that the incident violated health procedures, he was not punished.

In Friday’s opinion polls, Iran’s Ministry of Interior increased the number of polling stations nationwide and placed ballots in open spaces as much as possible to avoid overcrowding and promote voting.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has also released an app that can help voters find the nearest non-crowded polling station. The voting is scheduled to start at 7 am and can be extended to 2 am on Saturday. The final result is expected to be before noon.

Vehicle night curfews have been in place for several months, but will be lifted on Friday and Saturday to allow people to drive to polling stations. On Friday, travel between provinces will still be banned.

Vaccine trickle

The election is underway because the launch of the coronavirus vaccine is still lagging, and the country is close to mass production of the jab of local development.

Approximately 4.5 million Iranians (more than 5% of the total population) have received at least one dose of vaccine imported from Russia, China, India and the global initiative COVAX.

Officials expect to import millions of doses of vaccine by the end of the year, but rely mainly on local production to vaccinate the country’s 83 million people.

Coviland Barrekat, The country’s first locally-developed vaccine, after months of hard work, obtained local emergency use authorization earlier this week Human trials in progress.

Setad is a powerful organization responsible for overseeing production under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei. Officials of Setad stated that it can now produce 3 million doses of vaccine per month and will increase production to 11 million doses per month.

The vaccine Razi COV-Pars developed by the Razi Institute of Vaccines and Serum is also undergoing human trials and is expected to receive emergency use authorization soon.

The third vaccine-developed by an organization under the Ministry of Defense, Fahravac In memory of the assassinated nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-also conducting human trials.

These are supplements to the vaccine developed by the Pasteur Institute of Iran in cooperation with Cuba. The vaccine is undergoing Phase III human trials in Iran and is expected to be launched in large numbers.

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