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Iran imposes restrictions amid fresh surge in COVID deaths

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)
Iranian authorities say 15 major cities are reporting growing number of COVID infections and deaths.

The Iranian government has imposed fresh restrictions on movement between cities amid a surge in the number of deaths and infections caused by the coronavirus.

Iran’s health ministry announced on Tuesday that 15 major cities across the country had been designated as “red” in a color coding system meant to indicate the severity of coronavirus disease in various regions.

The ministry said that some 61 cities were in “orange” or medium-high risk status while the rating in 274 cities was “yellow” or low-risk.

The red cities included the capital Tehran where local authorities said primary schools will shift to online classes for a week starting Wednesday to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

That comes as figures published on the website of the Iranian health ministry showed that the number of coronavirus deaths recorded in the country since Monday afternoon had topped 50, more than double figures from earlier this week.

The daily number of infections also rose to 35,070 on Tuesday while coronavirus patients in need of intensive care reached a total of 1,703.

Iran's health minister Bahram Einollahi urged people to get booster vaccines to prevent a new peak in the number of deaths and infections in Iran.

Einollahi said the number of referrals to Iranian hospitals for coronavirus had risen by several times within the past week. He insisted that a majority of those hospitalized were people who had failed to receive the full two doses of coronaviurs vaccines needed to get an acceptable level of immunity against the disease.

Latest health ministry figures show that over 54 million people from Iran’s population of 84 million have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus while more than six million people have received only a single shot.

The figures published on Tuesday showed that the number of booster or third dose vaccines delivered in Iran had reached nearly 17.7 million.

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