Iran re­ports record COVID-19 sin­gle-day death toll

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Iran re­ported on Mon­day 162 more deaths from the novel coro­n­avirus, the high­est sin­gle-day toll since the coun­try’s out­break be­gan in Fe­bru­ary.

“This in­crease in num­bers is in fact a re­flec­tion of our over­all per­for­mance, both in terms of re­open­ing and in com­pli­ance with health pro­to­cols,” Health Min­istry spokes­woman Sima Sa­dat Lari said at a news con­fer­ence. The pre­vi­ous record daily toll of 158 deaths was re­ported by health au­thor­i­ties in early April.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures have shown an up­ward tra­jec­tory in new con­firmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded in­fec­tions.

Iran re­ported its first COVID-19 cases on Fe­bru­ary 19 and it has since strug­gled to con­tain the out­break, the dead­li­est in West Asia. Lari an­nounced an ad­di­tional 2,536 new cases on Mon­day, bring­ing the to­tal to 225,205. The over­all of­fi­cial death toll is now at 10,670

She also put the num­ber of those who have re­cov­ered from the in­fec­tion at 186,180.

Now 3,037 other COVID-19 pa­tients are in crit­i­cal con­di­tion and be­ing treated in in­ten­sive care units, the spokes­woman said.

Iran has re­frained from en­forc­ing full lock­downs to stop the pan­demic’s spread, and the use of masks and pro­tec­tive equip­ment has been op­tional in most ar­eas.

Iran closed schools, can­celed pub­lic events and banned move­ment be­tween its 31 prov­inces in March, but the gov­ern­ment pro­gres­sively lifted re­stric­tions from April to try to re­open econ­omy.

Iran’s Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Satur­day that “mo­men­tum and ef­fort have waned among some of the peo­ple and au­thor­i­ties” to com­bat the virus, warn­ing the coun­try’s eco­nomic prob­lems would worsen if the dis­ease spreads unchecked.

Au­thor­i­ties launched a cam­paign over the week­end to en­cour­age peo­ple to wear masks and de­creed manda­tory maskwear­ing “in cov­ered spa­ces where there are gath­er­ings” from Satur­day, the be­gin­ning of the week in Iran.

Zan­jan in north­west­ern Iran has al­ready reim­posed re­stric­tive mea­sures for two weeks, its gover­nor said in a tele­vised in­ter­view. It fol­lowed a “cer­tain in­dif­fer­ence from Zan­jan res­i­dents and as the num­ber of our (virus) deaths picked up again in re­cent weeks,” said Alireza Asgari.

The lim­i­ta­tions in­clude clos­ing wed­ding halls and a ban on fu­neral events held at mosques, as they can lead to large gath­er­ings, he added.

The in­creas­ing virus caseload has seen some pre­vi­ously un­scathed prov­inces clas­si­fied as “red” – the high­est level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale – with au­thor­i­ties al­low­ing them to reim­pose re­stric­tive mea­sures if re­quired.

Ac­cord­ing to Lari, the prov­inces of Khuzes­tan, Hor­muz­gan, Kur­destan, Ker­man­shah, Bushehr, West and East Azarbai­jan, and Kho­rasan Razavi are clas­si­fied as “red”.

The prov­inces of Ilam, Lorestan, and Golestan are on alert, she added.

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani said Sun­day mask-wear­ing will be­come manda­tory in cer­tain ar­eas as he al­lowed virus-hit prov­inces to reim­pose re­stric­tions to con­tain coro­n­avirus spread.

Mask-wear­ing would be “oblig­a­tory in cov­ered spa­ces where there are gath­er­ings”, he said dur­ing a tele­vised meet­ing of the anti-virus task­force.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the mea­sure would come into force as of next Sun­day, con­tinue un­til July 22 and would be ex­tended if nec­es­sary.

Rouhani said the Health Min­istry had de­vised “a clear list” of the types of spa­ces and gath­er­ings deemed high-risk.

Rouhani said Iran would have to live with the virus for the “long haul”.

REUTERS

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