TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s capital is once again facing the highest level of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus as the country struggles with a new surge in daily deaths.
State media say the measure on Monday is the third time Tehran faces a so-called code red since the pandemic began. A code red involves a ban on any travel by personal cars to and from cities, and limits working hours of many business and offices to prevent the spread of the virus.
About 50 cities and towns are in code red, with only 23 cities and towns in code blue or safe status out of the country’s total of more than 800 cities and towns. The rest are in orange and yellow status, which involve less restrictions.
The report comes as Iran’s daily death toll again reached three digits, after months of being under 100. On Sunday, 161 deaths were reported, bringing the registered death toll in Iran to more than 63,000, the highest in the Middle East. Iran has reported some 1.9 million confirmed cases of the virus
Authorities blame the increase in the daily death tolls on large gatherings and travels during the Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, holidays in March.
Also on Monday, Iran said it received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the Netherlands through the global COVAX initiative. The country’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour says the first batch includes 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
So far, Iran has vaccinated less than 2% of its more than 80 million people with vaccines imported mainly from Russia, China and India.