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Iran hits new record for daily deaths and cases as it struggles with pandemic

Islamic Republic’s total reported fatalities from COVID-19 reach 28,800 but government continues to resist lockdown as country suffers under US sanctions

People wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in downtown Tehran, Iran, Oct. 11, 2020 (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
People wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in downtown Tehran, Iran, Oct. 11, 2020 (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

For the second day in a row, Iran announced Monday its highest single-day death toll from the coronavirus with 272 people killed.

The announcement by Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari saw Iran also give its single-day highest count of new cases with 4,206 new patients.

Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus since announcing its first cases in February. Iran has seen the worst outbreak in the Middle East, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases. It has seen over 28,800 deaths and 409,000 recoveries.

In recent weeks, Iran has seen daily death tolls spike to their highest-ever levels, sparking increasing concern even as government officials continue to resist a total lockdown fear of cratering its sanctions-hit economy.

People wear protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in downtown Tehran, Iran, Oct. 11, 2020 (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The virus has spread to the highest levels of the government, which is heavily populated by older men.

Among those recently infected is the head of the country’s atomic energy organization. The country’s vice president in charge of budget and planning also tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.

The virus first appeared in Iran as the government was trying to shore up support for the country’s parliamentary elections, which saw the lowest voter turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that brought its clerical leadership to power.

Iran has struggled to contain the spread of the virus across the nation of 80 million people, initially beating it back only to see a spike in cases again, beginning in June.

President Hassan Rouhani announced on Saturday that the country would start imposing fines for breaches of health regulations in Tehran. Iran had previously held back from using fines to enforce mask-wearing in public and other health protocols.

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