Middle East

Iran’s new coronavirus cases exceed 450,000: Health Ministry

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed the 450,000 threshold on Tuesday with 3,677 infections identified in the last 24 hours, a health ministry spokeswoman told state TV, as the Islamic Republic’s death toll spiked to 25,986.

Sima Sadat Lari said 207 people had died in the past 24 hours and the total number of infection cases reached 453,637.

Coronavirus has surged in almost all of Iran’s 31 provinces, but President Hassan Rouhani said last week that his government had no plans to impose a complete lockdown despite the growing number of cases.

However, Iranian authorities said some restrictive measures would be reimposed in Tehran and some other cities classified as “red”, the highest category in Iran’s coronavirus risk scale.

Iran, which has the highest coronavirus death toll in the Middle East, eased restrictions on normal life in April in order to help its economy, already battered by US sanctions. Health officials have repeatedly warned that easing restrictions could lead to a rose in infections.

Iranian officials have said sanctions that were reimposed in 2018 after US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers have hampered the Islamic Republic’s ability to combat the pandemic.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Gareth Jones and Giles Elgood

FILE PHOTO: A nurse wearing a protective suit and mask tends to a baby who is affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Hazrate Ali Asghar Hospital, in Tehran, Iran September 27, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

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