Covid deadlier than Iran-Iraq war, Iranian minister says
The ministry announced more than 113 thousand people have so far died from the coronavirus, with the number of cases exceeding 5 million. Health authorities in Iran however believe this to be a conservative figure, saying the actual number of fatalities is about four times greater.
Comparing both death tolls, Health Minister Bahram Eynohalli said that while around a quarter of a million people died in the 1980-1988 conflict, around 113 thousand fell victim to the virus in just 18 months.
He explained that the death rate currently stands at about 600 daily, indicating just how badly the pandemic hit Iran in 2020 and the tragedy it caused.
Hospitals are continuing to witness overcrowding with a lack of beds in intensive care units, as they run out of vital medical personnel and supplies, government health sources have revealed.
Since late June, Iran has seen what officials have called a "fifth wave" of infections, the country's worst yet, which they have largely blamed on the Delta variant of the virus.
Battling the Middle East's deadliest Covid outbreak, Iran launched a vaccination drive in February but it has progressed slower than authorities had hoped.
Choked by US sanctions that have made it difficult to transfer money abroad, it says it has struggled to import vaccines.
Iran's ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi said last month his government would prioritise tackling Covid and accelerating vaccinations ahead of an economic revival.