A man disinfects a shrine to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Shahr-e-Ray, south of Tehran, Iran. File/AP
Gulf Today Report
Iran has reported record 13,053 new coronavirus infections and 486 deaths over the past 24 hours on Monday as the government planned tougher restrictions to curb the pandemic in the Middle East's worst-affected country.
Sima Sadat Lari, Health Ministry spokeswoman, told state TV that the total number of infected cases had reached 775,121, while total fatalities had increased to 41,979.
President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday declared "the general mobilisation of the nation and the government" to confront the third wave of the coronavirus with infections and deaths rising at an alarming rate over the past few weeks.
Earlier, an Iranian opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, lost the 2009 race to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who ran in a disputed 2009 presidential election and his activist wife have tested positive for the coronavirus while under house arrest.
According to ILNA news agency reported on Sunday, the report came as authorities announced a stricter two-week lockdown set to begin Saturday for some 100 cities and towns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Daily death tolls in Iran have spiked to their highest-ever levels in recent weeks.
Iranians wear protective masks in the capital Tehran. File/AFP
Mohsen Hashemi, head of Tehran City Council said, “According to Health Ministry officials, the danger of reaching 1,000 deaths a day soon exists. It is not clear who opposes a lockdown in the National Coronavirus Task Force (NCCT), where the president has the last word. Perhaps, it would be better if the NCCT Spokesman engaged in some transparency.
“Why despite the insistence on a lockdown by Tehran’s Governor, the NCCT, the Health Minister, members of the COVID-19 Sciences Committee, deputies, and members of the Parliament Health Committee along with experts in health care, the lockdown is not being implemented? Even the president’s office says Rouhani is not opposed. So, who is opposed that no one knows him?”
The government said on Sunday tighter restrictions to be imposed in Tehran and some 100 other cities and towns from Nov. 21 for two weeks will include the closure of non-essential businesses and services.
Some hospitals have run out of beds to treat new patients, health authorities were quoted as saying by Iranian state media.
Tehran City Council Chairman Mohsen Hashemi warned on Sunday that deaths could reach 1,000 a day in the capital in the coming weeks.Authorities have called on Iranians to respect health protocols requiring social distancing and mask-wearing, warning that "we will have a very difficult months ahead".
The COVID-19 outbreak claimed 136 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing Iran's overall death toll to 3,739, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference.
The grim milestone represents a significant spike from the previous single-day death toll record of 279. The Health Ministry also announced 4,251 new infections, pushing the total count to 534,630.
Iran has reported a rise of 10,463 daily coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing total cases in the country to 692,949. Middle East's worst affected country Iran also reported that, 458 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
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