Iran today reported its highest daily case total of the pandemic, and health officials ordered a week-long lockdown for Tehran, the country’s capital.

Iran is in its fifth surge, as multiple parts of the world battle the more transmissible Delta (1617.2) variant, including Myanmar, where deaths reached a new daily high.

Iran re-emerges as Mideast hot spot

Iran’s latest surge comes at a risky time, as Muslim communities observe Eid al-Adha, which usually involves celebrations with family gatherings.

Today, the country reported a record 27,444 new cases, topping the previous high from mid-April, according to Reuters. The steep rise in cases prompted a lockdown for Tehran and Alborz provinces, where only essential businesses are allowed to stay open.

Iran is among the countries experiencing a slow vaccine rollout. Only about 2.7% of the country is vaccinated, and country officials have blamed US sanctions for limited supplies of vaccine and medical materials.

In neighboring Pakistan, a surge in Delta activity in Karachi is pushing some hospitals to capacity, with government hospitals full and some private facilities turning away patients, according to Dawn, a newspaper based in the city. Health officials said the variant makes up 92% of sequenced samples and warned that the situation could get worse as people and travel for the Muslim holiday.

Myanmar surge crosses China border

As infections surge in Myanmar, where cases over the last week are averaging about 5,000 a day, the country reported a record 281 deaths today, according to Reuters. Health workers and crematorium workers say the real totals are much higher than the government’s numbers and that crematoriums are overloaded.

The country’s struggle against the virus has been complicated by upheaval related to the military seizing power in early February. In a related development, a senior advisor to Myanmar’s recently ousted leader died today from COVID-19 after he was exposed to the virus in jail.

In a related development, Myanmar’s outbreak is having a spillover effect in the Chinese border province of Yunnan, which is experiencing a spike in activity. Yesterday, the province reported 41 infections in people arriving from Myanmar between Jul 12 and Jul 18, and today it reported 8 local cases and 1 asymptomatic carrier, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.

Currently, 259 people are hospitalized, including 80 who were infected locally. The province’s spike in infections, centered in Ruili, started on Jul 4.

More global headlines

  • COVID activity has driven India’s excess deaths to 4 million, according to a report today from the Washington-based Center for Global Development. The group based its analysis on three different data sources. Excess deaths are a measure of the pandemic’s overall impact, and India’s official fatality count is about 414,000.
  • In Europe, UK vaccine advisors yesterday issued advice on vaccinating children and those younger than 18. It didn’t recommend routine vaccination for people in that age group, except for certain groups, including those at increased risk for complications or living with an immune-compromised person. Also, the European Medicines Agency said today it has started a rolling review of Sanofi Pasteur’s protein-based adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The global total today climbed to 190,905,504 cases, along with at least 4,095,858 deaths, according to the New York Times.

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