For the second day in a row, Iran announced Monday its highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus with 272 people confirmed dead.
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The announcement by Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari saw Iran also give its single-day highest count of new cases with 4,206 new patients.
Iran has seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases. It has recorded over 28,800 deaths and 409,000 recoveries. The situation in the capital, Tehran, has worsened, prompting officials to tighten restrictions last Saturday, shutting down universities, schools, libraries, mosques, cinemas, museums and beauty salons.
Iran has struggled to contain the spread of the virus across this nation of 80 million people, initially beating it somewhat back only to see it return beginning in June. In recent weeks, Iran has seen daily death tolls spike to their highest-ever levels, sparking increasing concern even as government officials continue to resist a total lockdown for fear of cratering its sanctions-hit economy.
The virus has spread to highest levels of the government. Among those recently infected is the head of the country’s atomic energy organization. The country’s vice president in charge of budget and planning also tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.
The nation’s currency also plunged to its lowest level ever on Sunday, following the Trump administration’s decision on Thursday to blacklist 18 Iranian banks that had so far escaped the bulk of re-imposed sanctions after withdrawing the US from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.