Tehran, Iran – “The second time I used to be coping with the virus, one night time I used to be in a lot ache that I stated my prayers earlier than going to sleep as a result of I felt like I won’t see one other morning,” says Tehran resident Sadaf Samimi.
The 29-year-old journalist informed Al Jazeera she first examined optimistic for COVID-19 in July at her office and has since been working from residence.
However in early September, she obtained sick a second time with the coronavirus after she met two of her shut associates, who had been isolating at residence. One among her associates had shopped for groceries at a big market, the place they may have contracted the virus.
Samimi stated she skilled a scarcity of breath and the signs of a robust chilly the primary time she was contaminated, however getting by the second time was a way more painful expertise, marked by extreme physique pains and a splitting headache, amongst different signs.
“Now I take advantage of three face masks and three [pairs of] gloves each time I’m going out,” she stated.
“I get so irritated and offended about individuals who exit unnecessarily and once I see associates posting about occurring journeys on social media. I really feel they and their households have been lucky sufficient to not be contaminated, so that they don’t know what they’re doing to themselves.”
Samimi stated she feels many individuals are too relaxed contemplating how dire the state of affairs is.
The authorities agree.
Based on well being officers, greater than 4 in 5 Iranians adhered to well being protocols in March, weeks after the pandemic started, however that has now dropped to as little as 40 p.c.
Authorities preserve that reopening colleges and holding public ceremonies to look at spiritual events have had no bearing on the variety of instances.
Iran handed 30,000 official COVID-19 casualties on Saturday as well being ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari introduced 253 extra individuals misplaced their lives previously 24 hours.
Saturday additionally noticed 4,103 extra new infections, bringing the nation’s whole to 526,490.
The best variety of single-day infections was recorded at 4,830 instances on Wednesday, when a worst single-day demise toll of 279 was additionally reported.
The vast majority of Iran’s 32 provinces, together with Tehran, are nonetheless categorized as crimson in a colour-coded scale denoting the severity of outbreaks. On Saturday, Tehran governor introduced town’s partial shutdown will stay in place till at the very least October 23.
New restrictions for Tehran
In response to the alarming rise within the variety of infections, deaths and hospitalisations, officers have launched new restrictions for Tehran, which is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 instances within the nation dealing with the worst outbreak within the Center East.
Final week, a compulsory city-wide masks rule was applied and President Hassan Rouhani introduced fines for individuals and companies who fail to stick to the foundations.
He stated individuals who violate the masks rule will face a tremendous of 500,000 rials ($1.6), whereas the very best tremendous for people has been outlined at 2 million rials ($6.6) for many who take a look at optimistic for COVID-19 and knowingly endanger others by not quarantining.
Companies have additionally been ordered to refuse providing providers to individuals with out masks and will withstand 10 million rials ($33) in penalties, and in the end, closures.
Finalising the penalties took weeks and police officers, who’ve been tasked with issuing the penalties, say no fines have been issued but.
On the request of the well being ministry, officers additionally put in impact three-day journey restrictions on 5 metropolises that expire on the finish of Saturday.
As a part of the journey restrictions, which don’t apply to journey by rail or air, solely individuals whose licence plates are registered in Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad, Isfahan and Urmia, or can show they reside in these cities, are allowed to journey to and from there.
The transfer got here in response to an anticipated wave of journey in the course of the three-day interval, which coincided with nationwide spiritual holidays.
Tehran has simply completed a partial two-week shutdown interval that noticed the closure of cafes, universities, cinemas and sport centres, amongst different locations.
However authorities have been unable to impose extra complete lockdowns as a result of the financial system continues to be beneath immense strain from sanctions imposed by america.
The sanctions have come relentlessly after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Samimi, who has misplaced a number of prolonged members of the family and household associates because the begin of the pandemic, says after going by the COVID-19 ordeal twice, she strongly helps any restrictions that would assist save lives.
“I’m no financial knowledgeable and I don’t know what the monetary toll can be for individuals and companies, however I feel human lives are extra vital than the financial system,” she stated.
“I feel a broken financial system can recuperate, however the life that escapes a physique won’t ever come again.”
However in an financial system marked by excessive inflation and unemployment, many don’t have the choice to earn a living from home or lose their restricted incomes.
“I comply with all of the protocols as greatest I can, however a hungry abdomen doesn’t care about these items,” Shahrokh, a 50-year-old father of two who works as a driver in an internet ride-hailing app, informed Al Jazeera.
“I stayed at residence for just a few weeks when the pandemic first started, however I’ve been out working since. It’s destiny; if I’m imagined to die, I die,” stated Shahrokh, who suffers from diabetes, a situation that makes him far more weak if he contracts the virus.
‘Well being employees are drained’
In the meantime, well being employees throughout Iran, particularly in Tehran, are beneath growing strain.
“I’m not essentially the most skilled particular person, however caring for COVID sufferers has been one of many strangest and saddest experiences I’ve ever had,” stated 24-year-old Mahsa, a final-year medical intern who spent months working in hospitals affiliated with the Azad College in Tehran in the course of the pandemic.
“What struck me essentially the most was the quantity of tension, frustration and concern in sufferers and their households,” she informed Al Jazeera.
Mahsa stated it was particularly irritating for her and her colleagues not to have the ability to console sufferers; partially as a result of a lot stays unknown in regards to the virus, and due to restriction brought on by having to look at bodily distancing and put on a lot protecting gear.
At occasions, she stated, hospital workers couldn’t even preserve sufferers within the emergency room for a couple of minutes to provide them an oxygen increase earlier than sending them away to a different hospital.
Footage aired by state-run tv from hospitals within the capital in current days have additionally proven that many haven’t any empty beds, even in emergency rooms, and haven’t any selection however to depart sufferers ready or to show them away.
Final week, the well being ministry introduced hospitals throughout the nation should refuse to confess all non-emergency sufferers.
What’s extra, many hospitals are dealing with shortages in medication, particularly therapies which have proven promise in serving to COVID-19 sufferers.
This has compelled distraught members of the family to scramble for medication, at occasions from black markets, typically at astronomical costs that many can’t afford.
Final week, Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered all army hospitals to simply accept coronavirus sufferers, whereas commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami pledged “the complete medical and assist capability of the IRGC” to assist struggle the virus.
Based on Mahsa, “What is obvious essentially the most for the time being amongst well being employees is fatigue and exhaustion from the overflow of sufferers, and having to put on protecting gear and following strict protocols always, even throughout temporary relaxation durations, as a result of relaxation areas are shared as nicely.”
The pinnacle of the Medical Council of Iran had the identical message final week, saying “well being employees are drained” in a information convention.
“Predominantly curing COVID in intensive care items will not be possible,” Mohammadreza Zafarghandi stated.
“We have to be pondering of stopping infections.”