Iran’s coronavirus crisis worsened on Monday, with a record numbers of deaths and new infections, as the capital, Tehran, went into partial shutdown for a week.
The restrictions in Tehran, which went into effect on Saturday, include fines for anyone not wearing a mask in public. The government ordered the shutdown of schools, gyms, cafes, cinemas, beauty salons, museums and mosques, even for Friday prayers.
The health ministry on Monday reported 235 deaths from the virus, the highest daily count in Iran since the disease was first reported there in February. Masoud Mardani, a member of the government’s coronavirus committee, told the newspaper Etemad that the true death toll was several times higher than the official tally.
The ministry reported 3,902 new infections on Monday — another record — and 2,000 people hospitalized. Doctors warned on state TV that hospitals across the nation had reached full capacity and there were no more empty beds in intensive care units in Tehran.
President Hassan Rouhani announced the new restrictions as his government came under fire for taking a relatively passive stance on the crisis, referred to as the “inshallah” approach, from the Arabic expression meaning “God willing” or “if God wills.”
“Unfortunately, Tehran in terms of enforcing health regulation is like a city with nobody in charge,” said Hossein Kermanpour, the spokesman for the country’s regulatory body for health care.
In other global developments:
A top World Health Organization official said Monday that about 10 percent of the world’s population may have already contracted the coronavirus. That estimate — which works out to about 760 million people — far exceeds the confirmed global caseload of about 35 million. “This varies depending on country, it varies from urban to rural, it varies between different groups,” the official, Dr. Mike Ryan, said at a special session of the agency’s executive board in Geneva. “But what it does mean is that the vast majority of the world remains at risk.” Another agency official said Monday that the 10 percent estimate had been calculated based on an average of antibody studies from around the world.
Nicolas Maduro, the leader of Venezuela, has said his son and sister plan to take part in clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed in Russia. The vaccine, called Sputnik V, has not been tested in late-stage clinical trials that show whether a vaccine is effective and can find rare side effects. Russia is now conducting those trials inside Russia and in Belarus and Venezuela. Russia also plans to test the vaccine in Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Maduro said he planned to take the Russian vaccine once the trial is completed.
Ireland will enact more restrictive coronavirus measures starting at midnight on Tuesday, but will not impose the full lockdown recommended by some of its public health officials. The implications of a strict lockdown are “severe and very different to those we faced earlier this year,” said Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Monday, adding that it put “hundreds of thousands” of jobs at risk. Instead, the rest of the country will join the city of Dublin and the county of Donegal in a move to Level 3 restrictions for three weeks. Those rules ban social gatherings and indoor events. Bars and restaurants will remain open, with restrictions. The country has reported a spike in infections not seen since earlier in the pandemic, with at least 3,100 new cases in the past week.
The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is considering implementing a “circuit breaker” lockdown as she warned that infection levels were increasing in “pretty much every part of the country.” On Monday, Scotland reported 697 new cases of the virus. The country’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to decide on tighter restrictions. Government advisers have advocated for a two-week lockdown to stop the spread of the virus and help buy time ahead of winter. Ms. Sturgeon said on Monday that the term “circuit breaker” could mean a number of things and she would give as much notice as possible before any new restrictions go into effect.
Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, required masks to be worn inside its building starting Tuesday, as the number of virus cases continues to rise. Although social-distancing rules were introduced in the Bundestag early in the pandemic, wearing masks was only encouraged until now. While most lawmakers wore masks when not speaking, some, especially those from the far-right Alternative for Germany party, did not. The new rule will be in effect until at least Jan. 17. Four districts in Berlin, including the one where the Bundestag is located, have now surpassed the level of 50 infections per 100,000 people in a week, making them hot spots.