Islamic Republic of Iran : Flash Update - As of 24 March 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



• Iran continues to deal with three simultaneous emergencies; a spike in cases of people affected by the coronavirus COVID-19, flooding and locust invasion.

• COVID-19 infection rate is accelerating with a possible spike after Nowruz travellers return.

• More than 24,000 cases of COVID-19 have been detected, nearly 2,000 people have died.

• UN Country Preparedness and Plan has a funding gap of 28,907,745 USD.

• Heavy rains have affected 11 provinces, 11 people have died.

• Locust swarms’ threat to farmland areas in six provinces.

Coronavirus COVID-19

Situation overview:

As of 24 March, 1,762 people had been confirmed with COVID-19 cases, 122 people had died due to the virus in the Islamic Republic of Iran the past 24 hours. This brings the cumulative figure to 24,811 confirmed cases and 1,934 deaths.

Humanitarian impact/needs:

Iran's Ministry of Health announced that more than 36 million people have been screened in the national mobilization campaign against coronavirus. The army has been deployed to Qom to control entrances to the city as well as the most crowded sites. Authorities have put in place a task force to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Shopping malls and other commercial centres are closed as of 22 March. The decision will not affect small businesses such as grocery shops, drug stores, bakeries, etc. Screening points have been established at public places such as railways, bus terminals and airports.

For the ongoing Nowruz holidays, the Iran Traffic Police reported more than 1.1 million trips were made within the country on March 18th. The Iran Red Crescent Society reported 3 million travelers from 13 infected provinces left their cities. Inter-province travel restrictions had been announced in the previous week. A spike in new infections may be observed in 2 -3 weeks time.

Humanitarian response and coordination:

WHO delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to Iran as part of COVID 19 response measures on 19 March, ready for distribution to hospitals across Iran. WFP is building livelihood opportunities for the most vulnerable refugees living in nine settlements by facilitating tailoring workshops for more than 170 refugees. In Sarvestan settlement, refugees are producing masks for the community and for Fars Province in general. A third shipment of medical supplies arrived in Tehran designated for health personal working to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The cargo held 3.4 tons of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies, including two types of high-filtered respiratory surgical masks, N95 masks and surgical gowns. Since March 1, UNICEF has brought in 8 tons of PPE supplies in total. The contributions are funded by UNICEF's global emergency resources designated for health personnel. Supplies are funneled through Ministry of Health to University hospitals. UNFPA provided hygienic kits/health items to the State Welfare Organization or their public centers caring for people with disabilities and for the elderly. Particularly, older women are vulnerable and exposed during the COVID-19 crisis.

The assistance includes 750,000 pairs of gloves, masks and sanitizers to be distributed several provinces. The UN Country Preparedness and Response Plan (CPRP) for COVID-19, is linked with the National Mobilization Plan and addresses country-level coordination, planning, and monitoring; risk communication and community engagement; surveillance, rapid response teams, and case investigation; infection prevention and control; case management; operational support, procurement and logistics. The total value of the plan is 37,074,722 USD of which 28,907,745 USD is the funding gap.

China, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Russia have assisted Iran with emergency medical supplies. Qatar Airways has offered – free of charge - to fly donated medical supplies from all over the world to Iran.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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