Iran daily virus infections exceed 9,000

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Iran on Saturday announced a new record of more than 9,000 new cases of COVID-19 infections in the Middle East's worst hit country, as the government imposed new restrictions.

The latest official figure of 9,450 positive novel cases in a 24-hour period comes after a consistent daily count of more than 8,000 in the past six days.

Iran's virus caseload now stands at 673,250, the announced.

The virus has also claimed another 423 lives in the Islamic republic, raising the total number of victims to 37,832.

The number of infections and deaths have kept rising and hit several new highs since September, prompting officials to announce new restrictions.

On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani outlined a new list of measures during a meeting with the COVID-19 taskforce meeting.

Speaking in a televised speech Rouhani said under the new measures non-essential businesses such as malls, small retailers, cinemas and gyms would close from 6 pm for a month starting Tuesday.

This would apply to the capital Tehran, province capitals and "cities with high populations", he added.

The rising toll has brought a number of health experts and officials to call for a lockdown in the capital as a minimum measure.

Iran has not imposed a full lockdown since it was hit by COVID-19 in February, with Rouhani arguing the country's sanctions-hit economy cannot afford to be shut down for an extended period.

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