Iranian officials are warning of a third major surge in novel coronavirus cases this year, after more than 2,700 new infections and 140 new deaths were confirmed on Tuesday.
It was the most significant increase in cases in over a month, coming after Iran reopened schools on Sept. 5 and celebrated a holy day — Ashura — last month.
Authorities said the capital, Tehran, has reemerged as the country’s primary transmission hot spot. They have blamed inter-province travel and the disregarding of health and safety instructions for the rise in new cases.
The country has so far officially recorded over 23,450 deaths and more than 407,000 cases.
But data leaks have raised doubts over whether those figures are accurate. In early August, the BBC Persian service reported that government records showed that about three times more people had died with coronavirus symptoms by July 20 than officially reported.
Whereas the country had confirmed a death toll of around 14,400 at the time, the records suggested the real figure may have been closer to 42,000.
The same records also suggested that the first person may have died of the coronavirus in Iran in late January, weeks before a first case was officially documented in the country.