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.
The government said that all of Iran’s 31 provinces are considered hot spots, but Tehran is the worst.
Mr. Rouhani said on Saturday that only 53 percent of Iranians were following health protocols such as social distancing and wearing masks. He said “regulations and oversight” would increase, and he authorized local coronavirus committees in each province to enforce one-week shutdowns.