Coronavirus: Iran sees highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases in weeks
Iran reported its highest daily number of coronavirus infections in nearly two months, with cases on Tuesday exceeding 2,700, according to the country's health ministry.
Sima Sadat Lari, the Iranian health ministry's spokesperson, told state TV that the Islamic Republic had documented 212 deaths in the last 24 hours and 2,751 new cases.
Tuesday's figure is the highest the country has seen since 5 June, when the ministry reported 2,886 infections in the space of 24 hours.
The number of total cases since the outbreak began in late February had risen to 314,786, including 17,617 deaths, Lari added.
Iran has been the hardest hit country in the Middle East from the pandemic, with the country recording a spike in infections after easing lockdown restrictions in April.
The government has made wearing masks mandatory in enclosed spaces and reimposed restrictions that had been gradually lifted in April to reopen the flagging economy.
Iran has suffered a sharp economic downturn since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions.
Despite the rule on face masks, AFP reported that people could still be seen without masks inside the capital Tehran's shops and banks.
Iran's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, called for fines against those who failed to obey the mask rules, as the only penalty currently in place was the refusal of service in public places.
"Deterrent methods must naturally be used, one of which is fining those not wearing masks," ISNA news agency quoted Harirchi as saying.
But those "financially unable to buy masks must be exempted", he added, without elaborating how that could be determined.
Masks in Iran range in cost from roughly 15 US cents for simple surgical ones to 68 cents for multilayered ones with respirators. The country's minimum wage is $2.60 per day.