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Iranian city goes under full lockdown amid new COVID surge in south

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A lockdown is announced in the Iranian city of Bam amid a surge in COVID cases in south of the country.

A full lockdown has been imposed in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam amid a fresh surge in coronavirus infections in southern provinces of the country.

Bam’s governor said on Wednesday that government departments and businesses in the city, located in the province of Kerman, will close on Thursday while tight restrictions on movement and gathering will remain in place at least for a week.

Hadi Shahsavarpour said that Bam had turned deep red in the color-coding system used for showing the severity of coronavirus spread in cities in Iran.

His announcement came as authorities in neighboring province of Sistan and Baluchistan tightened restrictions on movement and business activity to prevent a surge in hospitalizations.

A senior government official told the IRNA agency that the death toll from the virus in the region had surged significantly in recent days, especially in the provincial capital of Zahedan which is located near the border with Pakistan.

Similar statements were made by authorities in the southern province of Fars where hospitality and leisure centers were ordered to close in the main city of Shiraz

Iran fears it can go through a fifth wave of coronavirus infections more than 15 months after the first cases of the disease were spotted in the country.

The nationwide daily death toll from the virus stood at 137 as of Wednesday afternoon while the number of new confirmed cases surged by 11,748, according to an update provided by the health ministry.

Cases have surged in Tehran and surrounding cities with authorities warning that more restrictions could be imposed to contain the outbreak in the capital.

The new surge is believed to be related to an increase in the number of infections with the so-called Indian variant of the virus.

Health authorities in the central city of Kashan said on Wednesday that they had identified at least three cases of infections with the Indian variant.

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