Tehran (dpa) – Iran announced a record level of new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday that officials said was due to the more transmissible Delta variant.
There were 39,019 new cases within the space of a day, the Health Ministry said, a jump from 37,189 cases the previous day.
Furthermore, 378 patients died due to the virus during the past 24 hours.
Overall, the country has recorded nearly 4 million cases, with a death toll exceeding 91,000.
However, an emergency request made by Health Minister Saeed Namaki for a two-week lockdown was initially rejected by the pandemic crisis staff on economic grounds.
«A lockdown is certainly an option, but it needs to be reviewed more closely, including from an economic perspective,» said Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fasli.
The proposal remains a possibility, however, and officials will make a decision in the coming days, he said, according to ISNA news agency.
The spread of the variant has pushed hospitals and nursing staff to their limits due to the virus, with intensive care stations and emergency rooms overflowing in multiple cities.
Meanwhile Iran’s vaccination campaign is only proceeding slowly, with some 4 per cent of the population, of 83 million, fully vaccinated.
The economic crisis has also made it much more difficult to import vaccines.