“social distance is not respected at all” (2/2)

Iran has been hit hard since the end of May by a second wave of Covid-19, which has raised very serious concerns: according to our observers, the hospitals are overwhelming and the Iranians do not respect the barrier gestures. In question, according to them, the lack of foresight of the authorities, accused of having deconfigured too quickly and of not responding quickly enough to a once again worrying situation.Iran was among the first countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic after China, but the authorities only acknowledged the presence of the virus on their soil on February 21. With our observers, we had documented this first wave, the lack of resources, the dubious “Islamic measures” proposed by Imams and the virulent criticism of the government’s reaction.

In the first part of this article, found here, our observers mentioned the lack of resources in hospitals, already overwhelmed by the second wave.

Iran began its deconfinance on April 29, ending all restrictions such as the closure of public spaces or the ban on travel to tourist sites in the northern country. But several experts warned of any serious second wave before these government decisions and their lack of clarity. Our observers in Iran confirmed to us that these predictions came true a month later.

“The government has eased the restrictions and many people have forgotten what they live in”

Our observer Ali (pseudonym), who runs a public health agency in a city in southern Iran, believes that government announcements encouraging Iranians to return to work and tend to normalize the situation have affected the behavior. and made the situation worse:

During the first wave we missed everything. We didn’t have enough masks, not even for medical teams, not enough hydro-alcoholic solutions, but people were aware that there was a real danger and they tried to follow the recommended health measures as best as possible. But after the government led to the restrictions on sending people back to work, I think many people completely forgot what situation they were in. The parks are full, people usually don’t wear masks, whereas unlike three months ago, masks are available for all. Social distance is not respected at all. In short, people behave as if everything is normal, and in this situation the virus spreads easily.

Abbas Sabouri, spokesman for Ahram’s city government, near Busheher (south), is in tears in this video: “The situation is horrible, there are no more beds in hospitals, young people die, we ask people to stay at home, wear masks, avoid crowds , not to pray together, but everyone does not care “

Although the national authorities have refused to introduce a new strict containment, the pandemic has recovered so much in some regions that local containment measures have already been taken. The cities of Mashhad (northeast) or Shiraz (center) and some cities in the southern province of Khuzestan were announced new restrictions on July 1 or 2: cinemas, bookstores, schools, universities, mosques closed for a week, measures that can be renewed.

In some of these cities, people have been asked to wear masks, but there is no indication that fines have been imposed on those who do not wear masks. There is also a growing concern in Tehran. On July 8, Ali Eta, a spokesman for the City Council, wrote on Twittter: “The situation is terrible [… ] I demand strict containment and at least teleworking of officials. “

Video clips taken at a hospital in Mashhad (northeast), where the cases of Covid-19 are numerous. The city announced the closure of its public spaces on July 1.“By not having any clear or mandatory instructions, people do what they want”

Maryam (pseudonym) is a manager of a company located in a city heavily affected by the second wave of Covid-19.

We are talking about the second wave, but in my region it is essentially the continuity of the first, we have never seen the number of cases significantly decrease. We have not had total containment as it could have been in Europe, and today the number of daily cases and injuries is the worst we have ever known. The only thing the government did during the “first wave” was to shut down unnecessary companies and limit working hours. But in fact none of this has ever really been used, even the cement stores were open! At the same time, the government issued only limited travel restrictions and provided hygiene advice to government officials.

Many workers at an oil refinery near Behbahan in Khuzestan, which is recognized by their blue work clothes, were contaminated by Covid-19. They went to Khomeini Hospital in Behbahan for tests and treatment.

But these were not orders: we could end up in banks that forbade coming without a mask, but others not at all. In the end, people are on top of each other. By not having any clear or mandatory instructions, people do what they want. Even worse is that for two months the city has been banned from counting by the authorities, so we don’t even know how things are going in the nearby city or region.

According to official statistics, over 12,000 people died as a result of Covid-19 in Iran. This assessment is largely underestimated according to independent experts and international estimates.