Iran on Monday reported record 13,053 new coronavirus infections and 486 deaths during a 24-hour period as the government planned tougher restrictions to curb the pandemic in the country.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Monday the total number of infected cases had reached 775,121, while total fatalities had increased to 41,979, according to Reuters.
President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday declared “the general mobilization 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.
"I call on all governmental organizations and other forces and institutions to rush to the aid of the Health Ministry and health workers with all possible means," Rouhani said in a statement.
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 nonessential businesses and services and cars will not be allowed to leave or enter those cities.
No gathering, travel
Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli on Monday urged the cities’ governors to seriously implement the restrictions placed on gatherings and travels.
He said that when a city is classified as “red” area, there should be no gathering or traffic there, according to IRNA.
Red is the highest category in the country's virus risk ranking.
Rahmani Fazli added that reports suggest that 90% of the banks, which are among the high-risk areas for spreading the coronavirus, have been observing the health protocols, stressing that all of the banks must comply with the protocols.
Also on Monday, Health Minister Saeid Namaki said that the government’s decision to impose restrictions are not aimed at shutting the businesses, but “we believe that the prolonged presence of this disease is the most deadly plague for the economy, political and social issues of the country”.
Iranian officials have repeatedly complained that many people ignore appeals to stay at home and respect health protocols, while Tehran City Council chairman Mohsen Hashemi warned on Sunday that deaths could reach 1,000 a day in Tehran in the coming weeks.
Some hospitals have run out of beds to treat new patients, health authorities were quoted as saying by Iranian state media.
Like many other countries in recent weeks, Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of the disease. Authorities have refrained from imposing a full-blown lockdown amid concerns that such a step could wreck an already sanctions-hit economy.
The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated economic problems that worsened after US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions.