After a mask mandate took effect in outdoor areas of the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Saturday, the country’s health minister announced plans to replicate the rule in other cities.

“It has been decided that this action would start from Tehran and will be extended to other large cities in the coming weeks,” Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki said Sunday, according to Reuters. Violators of the rule are expected to be fined.

Iran reported a record rise in coronavirus deaths on Monday, with 272 new fatalities.

The country had already imposed an indoor mask mandate in July. Tehran shut numerous businesses and venues, including cafes and mosques, earlier this month.

The widening restrictions come amid a surge in coronavirus deaths and after the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on the country, despite warnings that the move could disrupt humanitarian and medical supplies.

Iran is the most virus-stricken country in the Middle East. So far, officials have confirmed 28,544 coronavirus deaths, even though records obtained by the BBC and The Washington Post suggest that the country’s outbreak has been larger than Iranian officials have publicly acknowledged.

Overall, Iran has confirmed around a half-million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. On Monday, it reported more than 4,200 new infections, its highest single-day tally to date.

The Washington Post

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