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Iran Official Denies 'Herd Immunity' Is Government Coronavirus Policy

Iraj Harirchi, Iran's Deputy Minister of Health. FILE PHOTO

Iran’s deputy health minister has denied any intention to move toward “a policy of herd immunity” in regard with COVID-19, arguing that countries such as Britain and Sweden and did so “failed”.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on July had referred to a report that said 25 million Iranians have already contract the coronavirus and another 35 million could catch it in the coming months. This led to suspicions that the government was betting on a policy of herd immunity.

But deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi speaking in a television program on July 25 rejected allegations that authorities have a policy of allowing the virus to roam freely. However, he acknowledged that the pandemic’s current high level indicates the coming months will be worse than the first six months of the crisis.

Other health officials have also reacted to rumors of a policy encouraging herd immunity warning of a untannable strain on the health system if million more contract the virus.

The government’s reaction to the coronavirus crisis has been haphazard since the epidemic began in mid-February in Iran. Reluctance to impose early restrictions and then quickly abandoning them led to another surge in infections in June.

Harirchi also warned about the worsening situation in the capital, announcing that Tehran has now become the source of more infections in the country. He added that 600 new COVID patients are hospitalized each day in the city.

The health ministry spokesperson also announced Sunday, July 26 that the situation in Tehran is critical as the infection rate in the city has doubled in the past one month.