Virus Death Toll Tops 26,000

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The number of Covid-19 fatalities in Iran jumped by over 1,000 in less than a week to reach 26,000 on Wednesday, health officials announced.
According to Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari, 183 overnight deaths pushed the national toll to 26,169, ISNA reported.
With the two-week delay between the rise in infections and deaths, the daily count of fatalities is expected to cross 200 in the coming weeks.
“Iran added 3,582 patients to its tally of cases on Wednesday, 43% of whom required hospitalization. The new infections took the total number to 457,219,” Lari said.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi called for penalizing violators of health protocols and pointed to hefty fines imposed by European countries to force adherence to mitigation guidelines.
Harirchi said economic conditions pose the only obstacle to strictly enforcing the mandatory facemask wearing.
The official criticized the normalization of the outbreak and added, “Movements in the country have only dropped by 12% compared to the pre-coronavirus times, while we were expecting an over 60% decline.”
Officials with the Health Ministry and the National Coronavirus Taskforce have repeatedly asked authorities to fine health protocol violators since the start of the week.



More Calls for Fines

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli was the latest politician to demand fines. 
On the sidelines of a coronavirus taskforce meeting on Wednesday, the minister noted that compliance with health protocols has dropped sharply across the country.
“Penalizing those who violate Covid-19 measures is one of the new policies of the taskforce’s Security Committee,” Rahmani-Fazli said.
The proposal is pending the approval of national taskforce by Saturday. If imposed, Tehran will be the first city to implement the pilot program that could be extended to other large cities with high rates of virus transmission.
Nearly 381,000 have either recovered from the respiratory illness or were well enough to be discharged from hospital. Some 4,100 are in critical condition.
“Iran has administered 4.01 million diagnostic tests to track infected patients,” Lari said, adding that 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces are on red alert and four are in an alarming state.
Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus around the globe climbed to 33.9 million and fatalities surged past 1.01 million.

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