Iran struggles to contain coronavirus as cases surpass 150,000

Iranians pass by a restaurant in the capital city of Tehran, on May 26, 2020. (AFP)

Iran said its caseload of novel coronavirus infections passed the grim milestone of 150,000 on Sunday, as the country struggles to contain a recent upward trend.

The government has largely lifted the restrictions it imposed in order to halt a COVID-19 outbreak that first emerged in mid-February.

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But the health ministry has warned of a potential virus resurgence with new cluster outbreaks in a number of provinces.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,516 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 151,466.

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Infections have been on a rising trajectory in the Islamic republic since hitting a near two-month low on May 2.

Jahanpour said the virus had claimed another 63 lives over the same period, raising the overall toll to 7,797.

So far the government has reimposed a lockdown only in Khuzestan province on Iran’s southwestern border with Iraq.

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It remains “red”, the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale.

Experts both at home and abroad have voiced skepticism about Iran’s official figures, saying the real toll could be much higher.

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Last Update: Sunday, 31 May 2020 KSA 16:54 - GMT 13:54
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