Tehran, Iran – “The second time I was dealing with the virus, one night I was in so much pain that I said my prayers before going to sleep because I felt like I might not see another morning,” says Tehran resident Sadaf Samimi.
The 29-year-old journalist instructed Al Jazeera she first examined optimistic for COVID-19 in July at her office and has since been working from dwelling.
But in early September, she received sick a second time with the coronavirus after she met two of her shut associates, who had been isolating at dwelling. One of her associates had shopped for groceries at a big market, the place they may have contracted the virus.
Samimi mentioned she skilled a scarcity of breath and the signs of a powerful 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 use three face masks and three [pairs of] gloves whenever I go out,” she mentioned.
“I get so irritated and angry about people who go out unnecessarily and when I see friends posting about going on trips on social media. I feel they and their families have been fortunate enough not to be infected, so they don’t know what they’re doing to themselves.”
Samimi mentioned she feels many individuals are too relaxed contemplating how dire the state of affairs is.
The authorities agree.
According to 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 watch 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 prior to now 24 hours.
Saturday additionally noticed 4,103 extra new infections, bringing the nation’s whole to 526,490.
The highest variety of single-day infections was recorded at 4,830 instances on Wednesday, when a worst single-day dying toll of 279 was additionally reported.
The 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 the town’s partial shutdown will stay in place till at the 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 going through the worst outbreak within the Middle East.
Last week, a compulsory city-wide masks rule was carried out and President Hassan Rouhani introduced fines for individuals and companies who fail to stick to the foundations.
He mentioned individuals who violate the masks rule will face a wonderful of 500,000 rials ($1.6), whereas the best wonderful for people has been outlined at 2 million rials ($6.6) for individuals who check optimistic for COVID-19 and knowingly endanger others by not quarantining.
Businesses 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.
At 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 dwell in these cities, are allowed to journey to and from there.
The transfer got here in response to an anticipated wave of journey through 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.
But authorities have been unable to impose extra complete lockdowns as a result of the economic system remains to be underneath immense stress from sanctions imposed by the United States.
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 economic expert and I don’t know what the financial toll will be for people and businesses, but I think human lives are more important than the economy,” she mentioned.
“I think a damaged economy can recover, but the life that escapes a body will never come back.”
But in an economic system marked by excessive inflation and unemployment, many shouldn’t have the choice to work at home or lose their restricted incomes.
“I follow all the protocols as best I can, but a hungry stomach doesn’t care about these things,” Shahrokh, a 50-year-old father of two who works as a driver in an internet ride-hailing app, instructed Al Jazeera.
“I stayed at home for a few weeks when the pandemic first began, but I’ve been out working since. It’s fate; if I’m supposed to die, I die,” mentioned Shahrokh, who suffers from diabetes, a situation that makes him rather more susceptible if he contracts the virus.
‘Health workers are tired’
Meanwhile, well being employees throughout Iran, particularly in Tehran, are underneath growing stress.
“I’m not the most experienced person, but caring for COVID patients has been one of the strangest and saddest experiences I’ve ever had,” mentioned 24-year-old Mahsa, a final-year medical intern who spent months working in hospitals affiliated with the Azad University in Tehran through the pandemic.
“What struck me the most was the amount of anxiety, frustration and concern in patients and their families,” she instructed Al Jazeera.
Mahsa mentioned 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 attributable to having to watch bodily distancing and put on a lot protecting gear.
At instances, she mentioned, hospital workers couldn’t even maintain 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 alternative however to go away sufferers ready or to show them away.
Last week, the well being ministry introduced hospitals throughout the nation should refuse to confess all non-emergency sufferers.
What is extra, many hospitals are going through shortages in drugs, particularly remedies which have proven promise in serving to COVID-19 sufferers.
This has pressured distraught members of the family to scramble for drugs, at instances from black markets, typically at astronomical costs that many can’t afford.
Last week, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered all navy hospitals to just accept coronavirus sufferers, whereas commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami pledged “the entire medical and support capacity of the IRGC” to assist battle the virus.
According to Mahsa, “What is evident the most at the moment among health workers is fatigue and exhaustion from the overflow of patients, and having to wear protective gear and following strict protocols at all times, even during brief rest periods, because rest areas are shared as well.”
The head of the Medical Council of Iran had the identical message final week, saying “health workers are tired” in a information convention.
“Predominantly curing COVID in intensive care units is not feasible,” Mohammadreza Zafarghandi mentioned.
“We must be thinking of preventing infections.”