President Hassan Rouhani says has called on all Iranians to join hands and break the chain of the outbreak by observing health guidelines.
Rouhani further emphasized, “Victory over the disease is possible, but it may be a little difficult and time consuming. We will definitely win and we must stand firm and know that victory is certain.”
The president added that about 25 million Iranians infected with the coronavirus have overcome the disease, but another 30-35 million people are at risk of contracting it.
Citing a report provided by the Health Ministry, Rouhani announced the figures during a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday.
“Our estimate is that as of now 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus and overcome it and about 14,000 have lost their dear lives,” he said. “There is the possibility that between 30 and 35 million other people will be at risk” in the coming months.
Rouhani’s deputy head of communications, Alireza Moezi, said on Twitter hours later that the 25 million in fact refers to “those who have encountered the virus and achieved complete immunity”.
More than 200,000 people were hospitalized over the past 150 days, Rouhani added, predicting that the figure would almost double in the future.
The president called for preparations to deal with the situation as hospitalization cases are increasing.
Based on the Heath Ministry’s report, he said, out of 1,000 people infected with the coronavirus, 500 have no symptoms and may not even realize they have contracted the disease. About 350 people have mild symptoms while 150 may need to be hospitalized.
Iran has been among the countries hit hard by the coronavirus that first showed up in China in late December 2019 before spreading across the globe.
Illegal US sanctions have hampered the virus fight in Iran, which reported its first COVID-19 infection cases in late February.
Rouhani said that some reports show that the disease probably began to spread in Iran from the provinces of Qom and Gilan where passengers had arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Authorities on Saturday reimposed one-week restrictions in the capital Tehran including banning religious and cultural functions, closing boarding schools, cafes, indoor pools, amusement parks and zoos.
The Health Ministry reported 188 deaths in the past 24 hours to take Iran’s total to 13,979. Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 2,166 new cases were detected over the period, taking the overall number 271,606.
At least 223,300 patients have recovered so far or have been discharged from hospitals across Iran, she added.