Iran on Monday imposed new restrictions on businesses in 43 cities where the coronavirus infection rates have been alarming in recent days.
The Health Ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 27 of Iran's 31 provinces are still on the coronavirus red alert, IRNA reported.
It has opted for a color-coded system of white for low-risk parts of the country, yellow for medium-risk and red for high-risk areas.
The ministry’s spokeswoman put the total number of the deaths from the coronavirus at 32,953 after 337 people lost their lives from Sunday to Monday.
The ministry also reported 5,960 new positive cases from the coronavirus during the same period, bringing the total number to 574,856 across the country.
Authorities have complained of poor social distancing, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said last week the death count could soon rise to 600 a day if Iranians fail to respect health protocols.
Some hospitals had run out of beds to treat new patients, the head of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus told the state TV.
"Our doctors and nurses are tired. I urge everyone to respect the protocols," Alireza Zali said, according to Reuters.
The closure of schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran that was due to end on Monday would now be extended until Nov. 20, the state TV reported.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Saturday urged “decisive” action to stem rising cases of the novel coronavirus at a public meeting in Tehran with the national committee battling the pandemic, Press TV reported.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the government’s management of the pandemic is very important.
The prerequisite for proper management is “taking decisive governance decisions,” “convincing public opinion” and securing “cooperation of all institutions as well as the cooperation of the people,” he said.
“This cooperation, however, is not limited to countering the coronavirus; rather, it must exist in all issues, especially political issues, because the country, which has a new system and a new discourse, is naturally faced with major problems in the global and domestic arenas,” the Leader pointed out.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged “all organizations” to follow strictly the Health Ministry’s guidelines “regardless of other considerations.”
“Once the Ministry of Health has determined the instances of the restrictions, other bodies must comply with them, without taking into account any other considerations.”
He urged authorities to prioritize public health above any economic or security concerns.
Tehran has blamed US sanctions for hampering its efforts to tackle the outbreak. Washington has refused to lift sanctions that were reimposed after 2018 when Trump exited the Iran nuclear deal with six powers.