A senior Iranian health ministry official said on Wednesday that closures and lockdowns had been introduced for eight provinces across Iran that have been designated as red areas where the spread of COVID-19 has been accelerating in recent days.
“Our policy is to implement protocols and to intensively supervise how those protocols are implemented,” Mohsen Farhadi, a deputy head of the health ministry’s Department for Health at Work and Environment was quoted as saying by the official IRNA agency.
Farhadi said that all government and private sector offices as well as all job groups except those related to immediate needs of the people will close down in red areas.
The government has ordered a week-long holiday in the southern province of Hormozgan where COVID-19 has led to multiple deaths in recent days.
Other provinces on red alert include Razavi Khorasan in east, Khuzestan and Bushehr in south, Kurdistan and Kermanshah in west and East Azerbaijan and West Azarbaijan in northwest of Iran.
Toughening restrictions in those provinces come more than a month after the government eased some of its nationwide lockdown measures to allow economic activity to resume after some three months of closures over the pandemic.
However, daily figures published by the health ministry show the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths have more than tripled compared to last month.
The ministry said on Wednesday that the number of infections had increased by 2,549 over the past 24 hours to reach 230,211 cases.
It said some 141 patients had died from the virus since Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 10,958.
It said more than 3,000 people were being kept in intensive care over the virus while adding that there has been over 191,000 recoveries since the spread of the disease began in Iran in late February.