Iran’s COVID-19 cases hit a record high for the second time in as many days on Tuesday, rising to almost 35,000, as the health minister warned there was little hope of improvement unless the public followed health precautions, state TV reported.
The epicenter of the pandemic in the region, Iran reported 34,951 new cases on Tuesday, after registering a record 31,814 cases on Monday in a fifth wave blamed on the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Deaths rose by 357 to 89,479 on Tuesday.
“If health protocols are followed as they are now, we will not have much hope of getting out of the (high risk) ‘red’ situation,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki told state TV.
Officials say less than 40% of Iranians wear masks and follow other precautions.
State television broadcast scenes from burials of COVID-19 victims with crying relatives appealing to the public to follow safety precautions.
The government has been accused on social media of mismanagement over the country’s slow vaccination drive, with just 2.5 million people fully vaccinated from a population of 83 million.
Officials have blamed US sanctions for hampering efforts to buy foreign vaccines and delays in deliveries.