Iran says virus deaths cross 12,000
Iran said on Wednesday that its deaths from the novel coronavirus had surpassed 12,000, with authorities considering reimposing restrictive measures in Tehran to contain a resurgence of the disease.
It came a day after the Islamic republic reported its highest single-day fatality count of 200 from the COVID-19 illness.
Iran has been battling the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of the virus since late February.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that another 153 deaths had been recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 12,084.
She said total cases had risen to 248,379 with 2,691 more people testing positive.
Nine of Iran's 31 provinces are now classified as "red", the highest category in the country's virus risk scaling.
Another 10 are on alert including the capital Tehran and the surrounding province, Lari added.
"Tehran is facing a very fragile situation," said Alireza Zali, the head of the city's virus taskforce.
"The number of infections, deaths and hospitalisations have been on a sharp rising trajectory in the past 10 days," he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
His deputy, Ali Maher, told ISNA that measures may be reintroduced as soon as Saturday.
Some red provinces have already reimposed restrictions in recent weeks after receiving a green light from the government.
© 2020 AFP