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Iran sets new COVID infection record for the second day in a row


Iran has recorded more than 34,900 new coronavirus infections, setting the country’s one-day record for cases

The previous record of 31,814 infections was set just a day earlier, showing just how fast Iran’s latest surge affected by the infectious delta variant is progressing. Health officials on Tuesday recorded 357 COVID-19 fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 89,479 – the highest in the Middle East.

The alarming spread of the variant prompted new anti-virus restrictions last week. The government ordered the closure of state offices, public places and non-essential businesses in Tehran’s capital. But like previous government measures, the lockdown did not look like a lockdown at all. Tehran’s malls and markets were as busy as ever and staff crowded offices and metro stations.

Iranian officials have avoided imposing heavy-handed regulations on populations that cannot afford to tolerate them. The country, which is facing the worst virus outbreak in the region, is grappling with a series of crises: strict US sanctions, global isolation, a heat wave, the worst blackout in recent memory, and the Southwest. Ongoing protests over water scarcity.

Iran’s government announced that its domestic vaccine provides 85% protection against the coronavirus, without disclosing data or details. Iran also imports Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, as well as the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot through the United Nations-backed COVAX programme.

Meanwhile, in Libya, authorities imposed night curfews in parts of the country, including the capital of Tripoli, amid concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases and the highly contagious Delta variant.

The government said a 12-hour curfew is in effect from Tuesday. All businesses, cafes, restaurants and parks are required to be closed during the curfew.

The number of new cases in Libya has increased more than six-fold since July 1, according to daily figures from Libya’s National Center for Disease Control. On Tuesday, the Center confirmed 3,348 new cases and 24 deaths.

Libya has so far recorded more than 240,300 cases of the pandemic, including 3,422 deaths. The actual figures are thought to be much higher, given the lack of testing and the country’s health care system after nearly a decade of civil war.

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