EghtesadOnline: For the second day in a row, Iran set a daily record of 4,151 Covid-19 infections on Tuesday as officials warned that the third wave of the disease had become more severe.
The new record broke that of the previous day by 6.3%, taking the tally of cases to 479,825, the spokeswoman for the Health Ministry, Sima Sadat Lari, was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Overnight fatalities due to the viral infection dropped by eight to 227, bringing the death toll to 27,419, she added.
The severity of third wave, compared to the first and the second waves, has prompted authorities to make wearing facemasks mandatory when leaving home.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi announced that facemasks will become compulsory in Tehran starting next Saturday.
The health official noted that those who breach the law will be penalized but did not specify the amount of the fine. The National Coronavirus Taskforce is also preparing a proposal that imposes fines on Covid-19 positive patients who refuse to self-quarantine.
“The punishments will be heavy,” Harirchi warned.
Alireza Zali, the head of Tehran’s coronavirus taskforce, said they will closely monitor the implementation of the newly approved regulation.
Although Iran mandated wearing facemasks in indoor public places in mid-summer, authorities have never strictly executed the law until now.
New Records in Tehran
Addressing the relentless spread of the outbreak in Tehran, Zali said the number of daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths set new records for three times during the past two weeks.
Zali said, “Over the past 24 hours, 116 lost their lives to Covid-19 in Tehran and 961 new patients were hospitalized,” adding that 167 of the recent hospitalizations required admission to intensive care units.
According to the official, if 25 in 100,000 are diagnosed with the infectious disease in a two-week period, that area is considered “red” and “in crisis”.
“In Tehran, we are well past that number,” he added.
Tehran and six other provinces have closed down recreational centers, universities, schools and high-risk places of business such as beauty parlors for one week to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Health officials said the lockdown measures will most likely be extended in Tehran for another week.
“Nearly 395,000 have recovered from the respiratory illness and 4,200 are in critical condition,” Lari said.
Iran has carried out over 4.17 million diagnostic tests in the past seven months.
Covid-19 cases worldwide crossed 35.77 million and the death toll rose to 1.04 million on Tuesday.