Iran has broken another sad record in daily Covid-19 infections, just days after its capital, Tehran, tightened lockdown measures. The country is one of the hardest hit in the Middle East.

The Iranian health ministry released its daily coronavirus report on Monday, with 31,814 infections recorded in under 24 hours. The figure is the highest recorded in the Islamic Republic to date.

On July 20, Iran reported 27,444 infections, the highest level the country had seen since mid-April.

The government announced the rollout of Covid-19 curbs in Tehran and neighboring Alborz province last Tuesday. Government offices, as well as non-essential businesses, such as retail and cinemas, were forced to close as part of a week-long lockdown. Iran has been reluctant to impose nation-wide lockdowns though, instead opting for localized restrictions.

President Hassan Rouhani warned earlier in July that Iran would see its fifth wave of coronavirus infections, as the highly contagious Delta variant was spreading rapidly around the country.

Iran’s battle with coronavirus is exacerbated by the country’s slow vaccination rollout, with under 3% of its 83 million population fully inoculated, according to Johns Hopkins University. The government has previously blamed US sanctions for delaying the vaccination campaign, slamming the imposed economic restrictions allegedly blocking the purchase of doses as “medical terrorism.”

Since the pandemic began, Iran has recorded over 89,000 deaths and around 3.7 million cases.

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