Just over 220 people in Iran died from coronavirus or its complications between Wednesday and Thursday, the highest number since the Islamic Republic began grappling with the pandemic. According to the country’s health ministry, 221 people expired in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total fatalities in the outbreak to 12,305, and 2,079 new infections were reported, raising the total to more than a quarter of a million. Like many countries, Iran is suffering a resurgence of infections since relaxing many of its pandemic-related restrictions, and there has been sharp criticism of a laxity among citizens in the wearing of facemasks and maintenance of social-distancing regimens. Since last weekend, both Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have made it a point to be shown wearing masks. Earlier this week, Rouhani announced a new directive aimed at denying state services to scofflaws, while businesses caught ignoring special directives will be shut down for a week. Iran has been the Middle Eastern epicenter for the pandemic since February, with many surrounding countries tracking their first cases to people arriving from the Islamic Republic.
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