For the first time since February, Iran's official death toll on Tuesday reached 200 while according to the Chairman of Tehran City Council over the last 24-hour reporting period 70 died in the capital Tehran alone.
In her daily briefing, Dr. Sima-Sadat Lari, Health Ministry Spokesperson, said death of 200 COVID-19 patients has been confirmed on the basis of final test results since Monday. According to Dr. Lari 2,637 new cases were identified during the same period, bringing the total cases to 245,688.
Tehran City Council Chairman Mohsen Hashemi on Tuesday warned about the spiking number of coronavirus victims in the capital on Tuesday. Speaking to the reporters before the meeting of the Council, Hashemi said deaths from COVID-19 in the capital had dropped to [as few as] 19 but on Monday 70 victims were buried at Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in the south of the capital.
A month ago, COVID-19 fatalities in Iran rose above 100 after a two-month interval during which the daily death toll even dropped to around 50. In recent days, however, the number of deaths has now doubled.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Tuesday said he regrets that his warnings about another peak were not heeded. "I pleaded a lot, with people and with those who put a lot of pressure on us to lift the restrictions. I did warn that thinking the situation is normal and [the danger of] coronavirus is over is very dangerous," he said.
Namaki also added that the rate of businesses' compliance with social distancing regulations has dropped from 85 to 10 percent. "I really didn't wish people to come to a point where they would finally take my advice seriously at such a high cost," Namaki said.
In recent days hospitals in various provinces are reporting a shortage of beds and ventilators. In Tehran the situation has been fast escalating. Social media users have shared photos of patients who are being ventilated outside the hospital or in their cars in the parking of Masih Daneshvari Hospital, one of the major centers for COVID-19 treatment in Tehran.
COVID patients receiving oxygen in an outside space at Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran
On Monday the head of the infectious diseases ward said the hospital had run out of vacant beds for COVID patients but denied that patients were receiving treatment in the parking space of the hospital. Dr. Payam Tabarsi said the place where patients have been photographed is an open air area with oxygen machines for patients waiting to be admitted to the ward because in closed spaces they would infect others.
Officials say people have stopped abiding by recommended health protocols such as wearing masks and keeping a safe distance. On Tuesday the Health Ministry Spokesperson said weddings and funerals were hugely responsible for the spike in cases. However, many believe normalization of activities following the easing of the partial lockdown in the country is the main reason for the spike in new cases and deaths.