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Iran breaks record for new coronavirus infections

Iran breaks record for new coronavirus infections
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Iran on Wednesday broke its record for new COVID-19 cases for a second day in a row, reporting 20,954 cases for a 24-hour period.

The country’s previous record for daily new cases was set on Tuesday, when it recorded 17,430 infections.

The surge comes shortly after millions of people traveled to popular vacation spots and congregated in defiance of health guidelines for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, The Associated Press reports.

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The AP also notes that Iran’s vaccine rollout has been sluggish, with around 200,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines administered in a population of more than 84 million people.

COVAX, an international collaboration meant to provide poorer countries with coronavirus vaccines, delivered its first shipment to Iran on Monday, according to the news service. Some 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived from the Netherlands, which itself has temporarily suspended administration of the AstraZeneca shot due to concerns it is linked to blood clots.

Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Wednesday ordered all parks, restaurants, bakeries, beauty salons, malls and bookstores to be closed in Iran’s capital city of Tehran, along with 250 other cities and towns that are currently in “red zones.” These zones are placed under the strictest restrictions and more than 85 percent of Iran is currently under a “red” or “orange” zone, according to the AP.

Namaki reportedly said this week that authorities have “lost control” over what he referred to as “the rebellious COVID-19 dragon.” 

According to the World Health Organization, Iran has confirmed nearly 2 million coronavirus cases and more than 63,000 related deaths.