Life set to return to pre-pandemic normal
Iran among successful countries in curbing COVID-19
When on February 19, 2020, authorities of Iran’s ministry of health confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Qom, nobody knew how to fight this fateful disease. Images broadcast from Wuhan, China struck fear into the hearts of people. But Iran has ultimately managed to efficiently contain the invisible force of the virus, IRNA reported.
Iran’s rollercoaster journey through COVID-19 began amid cruel sanctions. Despite the ministry of health’s efforts at the time, some hurried decisions regarding proper restrictions
led to consecutive waves of the deadly disease.
Before Ayatollah Raeisi took office, Iran was going through its worst COVID-19 wave, with around 700 daily death cases. A shortage of vaccines also caused long queues in order to receive a single dose.
Under such circumstances, President Raeisi announced that people’s lives and livelihoods are his government’s priorities. Therefore, a massive vaccine import was programmed alongside support for domestic vaccine production.
Soon after, five million dose shipments began to arrive and daily vaccination reached a record high one million. While until August 6, 2021, Rouhani’s last day at office, only around 20 million vaccine shots were imported, in a short time during Raeisi’s office it reached more than 180 million.
Raeisi administration’s determination in fighting COVID-19 led to Iran securing a place among the leading countries in vaccination with 149 million doses. According to Minister of Health and Medical Education Bahram Einollahi, “With people and armed forces cooperating, in a short while vaccination in Iran reached record highs of 1 million 600 thousand daily, and 8 million 600 thousand weekly doses.”
“COVID-19 showed us that health is the foundation on which everything else stands. When public health is endangered, economic, social and cultural activities are in trouble. When it comes to health, the most important factor is the individual,” Einollahi added.
According to the ministry of health, now the death cases in many provinces dropped to zero but the vaccination continues.
“Vaccination coverage in the country is desirable and people’s vaccine needs are met until the end of this year,” said Seyyed Mohsen Zahraei, head of the ministry of health’s bureau of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Speaking gladly about Iran’s one-digit death cases, he added, “Vaccination coverage definitely helped curb the virus … but this does not mean that conditions are back to normal and we expect people to be patient and pay attention to the ministry’s messages and requests.”
Female household heads should receive preferential treatment: Official
Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Ensieh Khazali said that the administration should pay more focused attention to female household heads.
“The administration needs to pay special attention to female household heads as well as pregnant and nursing mothers,” wrote Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Ensieh Khazali in a tweet.
Approving the government support – mostly in terms of subsidies but also in other forms – offered to low-income families, Khazali maintained that the supportive approach should also place special importance on motherhood as it signifies “prioritizing others before one’s self.”
In recent years, Iran’s government has ratified a series of legislations and directives aimed at supporting and protecting the social and financial standing of women with affirmative actions, a significant target of which are those women who decide not to seek employment in order to take a better care of their families. This follows on the leader’s indication that motherhood and housekeeping should be considered “jobs” in the proper sense of the word.
Author plagiarized unjustified excuse for her plagiarism
An online essay in which the writer Jumi Bello explained copying others’ work for her novel was itself removed after further plagiarism was found. Reporting the ironic incident for New York Times, Daniel Victor explained that the writer had reached the final stages of publishing her book when she admitted to plagiarism in an essay which was published on Literary Hub. The essay chronicled her history with mental illness and the pressures of producing a debut book, examining how she had allowed herself to accept the ethical sin of copying someone else’s work.
Her novel, “The Leaving,” had been scheduled to publish this summer but was canceled after she disclosed the plagiarism to her publisher, Riverhead Books, in December. The book was about a young, Black woman’s unexpected pregnancy. In her essay, Ms. Bello said she had never been pregnant and had sought out richer descriptions of pregnancy online. Soon after the essay was published, other writers and publications, including Gawker, noticed similarities between Ms. Bello’s description of the origins of plagiarism and the work of others. Literary Hub removed the essay later on Monday, saying in a statement, “Because of inconsistencies in the story and, crucially, a further incident of plagiarism in the published piece, we decided to pull the essay.”
North Korea admits the first COVID-19 outbreak
North Korea has announced its first COVID-19 death amid an “explosive” outbreak of fever, state media said on Friday, one day after the regime admitted for the first time that it was tackling a coronavirus outbreak.
Confirmation of North Korea’s first Covid-19 death came after the regime said it was imposing “maximum emergency measures” to address an outbreak in the capital, Pyongyang, according to the Guardian.
Experts believe none - or very few - of the country’s 26 million people have been vaccinated, and there are growing fears that a significant outbreak would quickly overwhelm the country’s poorly equipped health services.
North Korea has so far shunned offers of corona vaccines from China and Russia, and via the World Health Organization’s Covax scheme, apparently because administering the jabs would require outside monitoring.
Lina Yoon, senior Korea researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the regime’s admission that the virus was spreading was “extremely concerning”.
“Most North Koreans are chronically malnourished and unvaccinated, there are barely any medicines left in the country, and the health infrastructure is incapable to deal with this pandemic,” Yoon said.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered a nationwide lockdown on Thursday, calling the outbreak the “gravest national emergency”.
North Korea had insisted it had not recorded a single Covid case since it closed its borders at the start of the pandemic more than two years ago.
Heavenly voice amidst garbage
In the middle of a somewhat hot spring day in downtown Tehran, a voice soars above the humdrum of city streets. Following the voice, you find a man near waste disposal containers, singing a song by Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
Mahdi Babaei, a reporter for ISNA, follows the voice. As it turns out, it belongs to Amir Moradi, a street-sweeper who has no official musical training. He whistles the pieces “Love Story” and “Conquest of Paradise” as he sweeps and walks with his wheelbarrow. The 42-year-old sweeper who moonlights as a singer explains that he has learned his songs all by ear. “Since I was a kid I liked good instrumental pieces and soon I knew them by heart. But since I had no instruments and couldn’t play, I just whistled them,” Moradi says.
As examples of the tunes he can whistle, he refers to well-known pieces such as “Love Story”, “Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis, and also “Caravansaray” by Kitaro.
He is also very fond of late Iranian traditional singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian. “I know almost all of his songs, may he rest in peace. I love his voice. Sometimes I sing his songs on repeat.”
Asked about his job, Moradi says that, “People appreciate us a lot”, but then immediately adds that, “The pay isn’t any good”, which, in contrast to everything else about his delightfully surprising presence in the streets, is a common complaint, and leaves to tend the streets.