150 new deaths as Iran still in first wave of out­break

Arab News - - News Internatio­nal - AFP

Iran’s coro­n­avirus epi­demic is still in its first wave, the gov­ern­ment said Tues­day as it an­nounced nearly 150 new deaths a day af­ter re­port­ing a record high daily toll.

The Is­lamic re­pub­lic has strug­gled to con­tain COVID-19 since it re­ported its first cases — two deaths — in the Shi­ite holy city of Qom in late Fe­bru­ary.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures have shown a ris­ing tra­jec­tory in new con­firmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded in­fec­tions. But of­fi­cials have re­peat­edly de­nied the up­ward trend amounts to a sec­ond wave.

“The coro­n­avirus is cur­rently peak­ing in bor­der prov­inces or cities which did not ex­pe­ri­ence a peak in the first months of the out­break,” health min­istry spokeswoma­n Sima Sa­dat Lari said on Tues­day. “There­fore, we’re still wit­ness­ing the first wave in the coun­try,” she said. Lari said Iran would only have a sec­ond wave if there was an­other rise in cases in prov­inces that “had a sig­nif­i­cant peak” when the first cases were de­clared.

Iran recorded 162 deaths from the novel coro­n­avirus on Mon­day, its high­est fig­ure for a sin­gle day since the start of the out­break on Fe­bru­ary 19. Lari on Tues­day re­ported 147 new fa­tal­i­ties, rais­ing over­all deaths to 10,817. She also raised the coun­try’s COVID-19 caseload to 227,662, with 2,457 new in­fec­tions in the past 24 hours.

Au­thor­i­ties have so far 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 grad­u­ally lifted re­stric­tions from April to try to re­open its sanc­tions-hit econ­omy. “Our at­tempts so far have been to avoid en­ter­ing the sec­ond wave” of the out­break, gov­ern­ment spokesman Ali Ra­biei said on Tues­day.

Iran has strug­gled to con­tain COVID-19 since late Fe­bru­ary.

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