"Between 15% to 20%, nearly 18mln, of Iranians have been infected with coronavirus," senior member of the coronavirus campaign committee, Masoud Mardani, said on Saturday.
He also said that the coronavirus vaccine will be available to the public by the end of fall or early winter, stressing the need for the public to wear mask and meet hygiene protocols to prevent coronavirus infection.
The Iranian health ministry announced on Saturday that 2,449 new cases of infection to COVID-19 virus have been diagnosed in the country in the past 24 hours, adding that 1,148 patients have been hospitalized.
"2,449 more patients infected with coronavirus have been identified in the country in the past 24 hours, while 1,148 patients have been hospitalized," Iranian Health Ministry Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Saturday.
Sadat Lari added that the number of people infected with COVID-19 amounted to 237,878 in the country.
“Unfortunately, 148 patients lost their lives during the past 24 hours, increasing the number of the dead to 11,408,” she noted.
The health ministry spokeswoman expressed pleasure that 198,949 patients have recovered or been discharged from hospitals.
Sadat Lari voiced concern that 3,136 coronavirus patients are in critical conditions.
She also informed that 1,769,520 COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been conducted in the country.
The spokeswoman said that Khuzestan, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Khorasan Razavi, East Azarbaijan and West Azarbaijan and Ilam provinces are in red condition; while Tehran, Lorestan, Fars, Isfahan, Mazandaran, Hamedan, Zanjan, Alborz and Sistan and Balouchestan provinces are in alert condition.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting approximately all countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 529,400 people and infected over 11.2 million others globally.