Iran extends curbs as it reports one coronavirus death every four minutes

An Iranian woman wears a mask and face shield in Teheran, Oct 24, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI • Iran extended curbs in the capital Teheran and across the country yesterday as officials said they were recording a death from Covid-19 every four minutes.

Some hospitals had run out of beds to treat new patients, the head of the national coronavirus task force told state TV.

"Our doctors and nurses are tired. I urge everyone to respect the protocols," Mr Alireza Zali said.

The health ministry in the Middle East's hardest-hit country reported 337 new deaths and 5,960 new cases over the past 24 hours.

A banner on state TV said that amounted to a death every four minutes.

The authorities have complained of poor social distancing and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said that the pandemic could cause 600 daily deaths in coming weeks if Iranians failed to respect health protocols.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran's official virus tolls.

A report by the Iranian Parliament's research centre in April suggested that the Covid-19 tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

Yesterday's data took Iran's total death toll to 32,953 and the number of identified cases to 574,856, Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Teheran have been closed since Oct 3.

As cases and deaths continued to hit record levels, the closure was extended until Nov 20, state TV reported.

Officials said "extreme measures and limitations" will be imposed in at least 43 counties across the country for one week, where the infection rates have been alarming.

State TV also reported that 21 one of Iran's 31 provinces were on a coronavirus red alert.

Iran has blamed US sanctions for hampering the country's efforts to tackle the outbreak.

Washington, accusing Teheran of "incompetent and deadly governance", has refused to lift sanctions that were reimposed after 2018, when the United States exited Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2020, with the headline Iran extends curbs as it reports one coronavirus death every four minutes. Subscribe