TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran on Tuesday reported its highest number of coronavirus cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 infections, as the country struggles to cope with an increase in infections.
The Health Ministry also reported 322 deaths from the virus, bringing the total to more than 31,000. Tuesday’s new infection count eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter for the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the disease in recent weeks.
Hospitals in the capital Tehran, the most affected city, are overwhelmed. Last week, health authorities announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for coronavirus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants in vacation spots over the past few holidays, and after schools resumed face-to-face classes last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already ravaged by US sanctions.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now beginning to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month and wearing face masks outdoors is mandatory.