Iran announced a record number of coronavirus cases Thursday, reporting more than 22,000 infections in a 24-hour period as it struggles to tame an explosive new outbreak.
The toll Thursday brought Iran’s total number of coronavirus cases to more than 2 million, cementing its position as the worst-hit country in the Middle East. Iran has recorded nearly 64,000 covid-19 fatalities.
The recent spike in cases followed celebrations of the Persian New Year, when Iranians meet, travel and feast to welcome the spring. Authorities have fought to impose stricter lockdown measures, but Iran’s ailing economy has meant many residents flout the rules so they can continue to work.
In the capital, Tehran, and other major cities, nonessential shops were ordered closed.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari called on Iranians on Thursday to avoid big gatherings, saying it was a “moral and social responsibility,” according to the Associated…