Tehran (AFP)

Iran has passed the 100,000 dead mark from Covid-19, the health ministry said Thursday, as the country has stepped up health measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In the past 24 hours, 31,266 contaminations have been identified and 564 people have died, the ministry added.

Since the start of the pandemic, Iran has counted 4,587,683 infections and 100,255 dead.

Iran is the country most affected by the pandemic in the Near and Middle East.

By the authorities' own admission, the official balance sheets are largely undervalued.

Since June, Tehran has faced a significant rise in infections, with authorities citing a "fifth wave" caused by the Delta variant.

And the balance sheets have grown heavier since the beginning of August.

"The number of infections and hospitalizations has stabilized in 14 provinces (...) but the number of deaths is expected to increase in the coming days," said Iraj Harirchi, deputy health minister, quoted on Wednesday by the Isna news agency.

On Monday, authorities introduced a series of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the ban on car travel between provinces until August 27, as well as the closure of administrations, banks and non-essential businesses on the whole territory.

On Thursday, the Isna news agency reported that the ban on driving had been violated by some citizens who allegedly used trucks to transport their cars to tourist destinations, notably in the province of Gilan, in the north of the country. country.

Iranian authorities have often explained the rise in Covid-19 cases by "non-essential travel" and non-compliance with measures by part of the population.

The Covid-19 in Iran AFP

The new restrictions were put in place as Shiite Ashura ceremonies, which result in large gatherings, take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the measures did not have an impact on the commemorations taking place in the open air, according to the authorities.

"The behavior of the pilgrims (during) ceremonies will decide the evolution of the coronavirus in the country," said Mr. Harirchi.

Iran, which has never completely confined its 83 million inhabitants, had already put in place partial measures such as temporary travel bans and the closure of businesses.

Taken by the throat financially by the American sanctions restored against it since 2018, Iran says it is struggling to import vaccines although it is trying to speed up its vaccination campaign.

© 2021 AFP