Iran has registered a new national high for daily Covid-19 fatalities, just a day after reporting a previous record number of people had succumbed to the virus as the country struggles to battle a fifth wave of infections.

On Monday, 655 Iranians had succumbed to the coronavirus in the past 24 hours – the country’s highest tally of daily deaths to date and up from the registered 620 Covid-related fatalities the day before.

A new influx of Covid deaths and infections have prompted the Islamic republic to impose measures to quell the spread of the virus. Over the weekend, the government announced a slew of new restrictions, with offices, banks and non-essential businesses forced to shut from Monday to Saturday. Travel curbs for movement between provinces came into effect from Sunday and are set to last until August 27.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the nation just days ago regarding the domestic Covid situation, calling the crisis “the country’s number one problem today” as the Islamic republic continues to break record infections and deaths.

Iran, which had previously banned the import of Covid vaccines from the UK and US, has more recently stressed that vaccines are key to exiting the coronavirus pandemic. On August 11, Khamenei implored for greater imports of Covid jabs and for the production of domestically made shots to be increased as Iran navigates its unabating fifth wave, which began in June.

According to the country’s health ministry, almost 15.5 million Iranians out of the 83 million-strong population have received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while the figure for the number of people fully inoculated stands lower at nearly 4.4 million.

The new record brings Iran’s overall coronavirus death toll to 98,483 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. The country is fast approaching 4.5 million cases, giving Iran the unfortunate title of being the Middle Eastern nation hardest-hit by Covid.

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