Iran Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds 12,000 as Lockdown Curbs Ease

Emergency medical staff and nurses wearing protective suits, transfer a patient with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Masih Daneshvari Hospital, in Tehran, Iran. REUTERS./

July 8 – Iran‘s coronavirus death toll exceeded 12,000 on Wednesday, the health ministry said, with 153 deaths in the past 24 hours, amid a sharp rise in the number of daily infections and deaths in the past week as lockdown measures have eased.

The total number of infections has reached 248,379, with 209,463 people having recovered, ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said in a statement on state TV.

Iran recorded 200 deaths from COVID-19 within a 24-hour period on Tuesday, the highest official figure recorded by the ministry.

President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday launched new measures to try to curb the spread. Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week, he said.

State TV has regularly aired interviews in recent days with reporters questioning people on public transport and in shopping malls why they were not wearing masks.

Some said they did not feel a sense of urgency, others said the masks were uncomfortable.

(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alison Williams and Nick Macfie)