Iran virus death toll passes 30,000

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran announced on Saturday that its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region’s worst outbreak.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced that the total death toll from the outbreak had reached at least 30,123. She said that 4,721 virus patients are in critical condition.

Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus since announcing its first cases in February, with more than 526,000 confirmed cases to date.

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 for fear of cratering the economy, which has been hard-hit by United States (US) sanctions.

On Wednesday, Iranian officials announced a travel ban to and from five major cities, including the capital of Tehran and Mashhad, that they said aimed to contain the virus’ spread.

The coronavirus has also spread to some of the highest levels of Iran’s government, which includes many older men. Among those recently infected is the head of the country’s atomic energy organisation, while Iran’s vice president in charge of budget and planning tested positive yesterday.

People wear protective face masks in the Tajrish traditional bazaar in northern Tehran. PHOTO: AP