Iran COVID deaths hit yet another high

The health ministry said the virus claimed another 709 lives in the past 24 hours, surpassing the previous daily record of 684 deaths reached on Sunday.

Iranians wear face masks as a measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in a street in the capital Tehran, on July 7, 2021. Picture: Atta Kenare / AFP

TEHRAN - Iran announced more than 700 deaths from the coronavirus on Tuesday, yet another high for the Islamic republic as it struggles to contain a surge in infections.

The health ministry said the virus claimed another 709 lives in the past 24 hours, surpassing the previous daily record of 684 deaths reached on Sunday.

The pandemic has claimed 103,357 lives out of 4,756,394 cases of infection, according to the ministry, whose figures officials have acknowledged understate the real toll.

Iran's new President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that his government would prioritise tackling COVID and accelerating vaccinations.

The Islamic republic was one of the first countries to be hit by the virus after China.

Since announcing its first cases in February 2020, the authorities have refrained from imposing full lockdowns, instead closing public spaces such as schools on a case-by-case basis.

The latest nationwide curbs lasted six days before they were lifted on Sunday, but a ban on travel between provinces by private car remains in place until August 27.

Choked by US sanctions that have made it difficult to transfer money abroad, Iran says it has struggled to import vaccines.

Fewer than 6.5 million of Iran's 83 million people have received a second vaccine dose, according to official figures.

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