TEHRAN (FNA)- A top commander with the Iranian Army said that thousands of his forces, hand-in-hand with the government, are fighting the coronavirus disease, as the country continues all-out fight against the deadly disease, including mobilization of production lines for making medically needed items.
“The Army Ground Force entered the scene of confrontation against the epidemic of the ominous coronavirus with over 80,000 forces and acted offensively in the field of controlling the virus,” Commander of the Iranian Ground Force Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said, addressing the Army commanders and personnel in the Northeastern city of Shahroud on Tuesday.
He also added that the Army was entrusted with screening people for coronavirus infection in four provinces across Iran which included 214 cities and towns.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official announced on Tuesday that over 250,000 medical staff have been involved in efforts to fight against the coronavirus epidemic in Iran, lauding the Armed Forces for their effective assistance.
“Over 15,000 medical staff and 100,000 nurses have been active in the fight against the coronavirus and over 100 of them have been martyred (in the campaign against the virus),” General Nasrollah Fathian who is in charge of coordinating executive operations at the National Coronavirus Campaign Headquarters said on Tuesday.
He added that over 150,000 hygiene forces and 64 universities of medical sciences have also given service to people since the start of coronavirus epidemic.
Also, hundreds of Basiji (volunteer) groups in different towns of Tehran province have produced over 5mln masks as the country continues fight against the coronavirus epidemic, an official said on Monday.
“670 Jihadi groups of Basij forces in the towns and cities of Tehran province are operating in the campaign against coronavirus and they have produced over 5mln masks in 134 workshops,” Head of the Basij of Construction of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in the town of Rey Majid Dehravieh told FNA.
Meantime, Iranian researchers at Sharif University of Technology manufactured a new home-made biosensor based on nanotechnology to diagnose cancer cells.
“We used nanotechnology to produce this biosensor. It can be applied to diagnose different types of cancer,” Elaheh Kazzemi Rahmatabadi, one of the researchers, said on Monday.
“In this method, we worked on people’s cell samples and measured the amount of telomerase enzyme, and the high level of this enzyme indicates cancer,” she added.
Moreover, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) imported a number of coronavirus rapid diagnosis test devices to speed up the identification process in the country.
Deputy Head of AEOI and Director of Nuclear Science and Technology Research Center Javad Karimi Sabet pointed to the AEOI’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and added, “with the continuous and effective follow-ups of the AEOI over the past two months, we managed to apply the capacities of our cooperation with IAEA.”
In this way, “we received a number of portable X-ray imaging devices, users’ personal protective equipment, several COVID-19 rapid diagnostic devices, known as RT-PCR, along with the accessories, worth more than €200,000, from the IAEA.”
Also, Head of the Coronavirus Scientific Committee Mostafa Ghanei said that the early results of plasma tests for coronavirus have been positive, adding that if the permission for ELISA test export is issued, other countries will be able to use the tests, too.
Moreover, Head of Iran's Food and Drug Administration Mohammadreza Shanehsaz declared on Monday the country’s self-sufficiency in production of different anti-coronavirus equipment, and declared that Iran is ready to start export of these items.
“Today, we are self-sufficient in providing drugs, masks, diagnosis kits, disinfection materials and alcohol,” Shanehsaz said.
He added that given the mass-production of these products by the knowledge-based companies and pharmaceutical firms, the country is ready to export the anti-coronavirus equipment.
Furthermore, Iranian Deputy Health Minister Alireza Rayeesi said that the country has conducted over 35,000 outpatient coronavirus tests and plans to start a wide jump in these tests.
“We have carried out over 35,000 outpatient tests which has been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Rayeesi said on Monday.
He underlined plans to conduct 1.5mln outpatient coronavirus tests in the future.
Rayeesi also warned that no one should think that the situation has been back to normal, adding that such wrong assumptions would lead to the spread of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Iranian authorities ensured adequacy of staples in the country under the current circumstances of the novel coronavirus epidemic, which has raised concerns about food security around the world.
"The strategic food reserves had increased over the past Iranian year (ended March 19, 2020) despite problems caused in trade with other countries because of the US sanctions on Iran," a senior official at the Government Trading Corporation of Iran (GTC) said on Monday.
The Iranian health ministry announced on Tuesday that 1,112 new cases of coronavirus infection have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, noting that over 72,000 patients have been treated and dismissed from hospital.
“1,112 more patients infected with COVID-19 virus have been identified in the country since yesterday based on confirmed diagnosis criteria,” Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Tuesday.
He added that the number of coronavirus patients in the country has increased to 92,584 people.
Jahanpour said that 5,877 people have lost their lives due to infection to the virus, including 71 in the past 24 hours.
He, meantime, stated that 72,439 infected people have recovered and been discharged from hospital, expressing concern that 2,983 patients infected with COVID-19 virus are in critical conditions.
Jahanpour also noted that 442,590 coronavirus diagnosis tests have been carried out in the country so far.
Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki stressed on April 7 effective measures to control coronavirus epidemic, expressing the hope that the disease would be controlled in Iran by late May.
“At present, the country is in the phase of disease management and we should not imagine that we have reached the harness and control phase. Today is the time for full-fledged combat against the virus. God willing, we will control coronavirus by late May. The virus should be controlled in the minimum possible time,” Namaki said, addressing the Iranian legislators in an open session of the parliament in Tehran.
He noted that at least 30% to 50% of hospital beds are still vacant across Iran and nearly 15,000 beds are ready to keep the patients who are recovering from coronavirus disease.
“We have now moved down to tank 6th in terms of deaths,” Namaki said, adding that the country’s situation in treatment of patients will improve in the next few days.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting approximately all countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 211,700 people and infected over 3.07 million others globally.
The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.
As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and most universities have been extended until late April.
The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s North, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.
Namaki announced last month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.
Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.
He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.
Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.
He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.
According to the latest statistics of Health Ministry, the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached over 90 across the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran's response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.
The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.
The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.