The Governor of Tehran Province has warned of a long-term Coronavirus crisis, with 35% of the area’s hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Anoushirvan Mohseni said there are more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases in the state-run hospitals in the province.
He declared that new restrictions, finally imposed by the Rouhani Government earlier this month, will have to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
The Helath Ministry announced 4,103 infections on Friday, the ninth day out of the last 11 with more than 4,000 cases. The total is now 526,490.
There were 253 deaths, close to the daily record of 279 set on Tuesday. The number of fatalities is now 30,123.
President Hassan Rouhani had held out for months against reimposing measures from the spring during the initial wave of the pandemic.
But with Iran setting new daily records for deaths and cases, the Government announced a national mask mandate. Anyone in a public place without a face covering will be fined 500,000 rials (about $165), and those infected with the virus who do not self-quarantine or inform friends and colleagues will be fined 2 million rials (about $660).
Schools, mosques, shops, and restaurants in Tehran were closed for a week from October 3, and Governor Mohseni has extended the closures indefinitely.
He said a return to the “relatively normal” situation in May and June will now require strict measures on gatherings and movement.
“With continued restrictions and carrying out additional screening tests… we would have a more timely identification of the infected people,” he said at a ceremony inaugurating agriculture and manufacturing projects south of Tehran.