TEHRAN — Iran on Monday imposed a week-long lockdown on the capital, Tehran, and the surrounding region as the country struggles with another surge in the coronavirus pandemic.
The lockdown — the nation’s fifth so far — will begin on Tuesday and last until next Monday. All bazaars, market places and public offices will close, as well as movie theaters, gyms and restaurants in both Tehran province and the neighboring province of Alborz.
Iran reported 25,441 new cases on Monday and 213 deaths over the past day, bringing the overall death toll to 87,374 from among more than 3.5 million confirmed cases in the pandemic.
During an earlier surge in cases, in April, Iran reported the highest daily number of cases, 25,582. At the time, its daily death tolls surged to around 400, below the grim record of 486 reached last November.
Iranian authorities have lately been warning about a new surge, fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant.
The closure of government facilities and banks in the country’s bureaucratic and business hub is a first since the pandemic began.
The government has avoided imposing a full lockdown on the population, and instead resorted to piecemeal measures such as temporary travel bans and business closures.
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned of “very low” observation of health protocols, and said Iran faces another jump in infections “across almost all the country.”
Addressing the virus taskforce, he said it was due to “unnecessary” travel and the flouting of health protocols.
Strangled by U.S. sanctions that have made it difficult to transfer money to foreign firms, Iran says it is struggling to import vaccines for its population of 83 million.
Just over 6.1 million people have received a first dose of anti-Covid vaccine, while only 2.2 million have received the necessary two jabs, according to the health ministry.
The authorities have approved the emergency use of two locally produced vaccines, with the only mass-produced one – COVIran Barekat – still in short supply.