Iran reports 179 new coronavirus deaths, new lockdown measures

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Iran on Tuesday reported 179 new deaths from the novel coronavirus as authorities announced a decision to once more shutter some businesses in the capital to contain the virus’ resurgence.

The reimposition of restrictive measures comes after the government had progressively lifted them from April to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.

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The one-week measure in Tehran includes the closure of gyms, pools, zoos and cafes, ISNA news agency quoted deputy Tehran governor Hamidreza Goudarzi as saying.

“Holding any social, cultural and religious events and conferences is banned from today for a week,” he said.

The Islamic republic has been struggling to contain the virus since announcing its first cases in mid-February.

It has refrained from enforcing full lockdowns to stop the pandemic’s spread and resorted to closing schools, cancelling public events and banning movement between provinces in March before lifting them.

Read more: Iran stepped up propaganda machine as regime botched coronavirus crisis: Report

Official figures have shown an upward trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari raised the country’s overall COVID-19 death toll to 13,211 with the 179 fatalities recorded on Tuesday.

She added that 2,521 people had tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the total cases confirmed to 262,173.

The rising toll has prompted authorities to make masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and to allow the hardest-hit provinces to reimpose restrictive measures, with Tehran being one of the latest.

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