The chairman of Tehran City Council has raised the alarm over the surge in coronavirus deaths in Tehran, warning of a “human catastrophe” if lockdown is not imposed.

Addressing a meeting of Council members on Sunday, Mohsen Rafsanjani said Iran is presently grappling with the third wave of virus that is showing no sign of fading, unlike first two waves.

If effective actions, he warned, are not taken to contain the further spread of virus, it may lead to a “tsunami and a human catastrophe” in winter.

Rafsanjani said the public representatives in Tehran have reached a “good understanding” on ways to curb the third wave of coronavirus, which will be proposed in a letter to the government.

“Our decisions on (combating) the coronavirus should be pre-meditated, not delayed,” he stressed, calling for lockdown in Tehran and other major metropolis for “at least two weeks”.

Iran has reported a record number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in recent weeks, sending shockwaves across the country and putting extra burden on overwhelmed healthcare workers.

On Saturday, Iran’s health ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari announced 7,820 new infections and 386 deaths, taking the overall tally to 612,772 cases and 34,864 fatalities.

On Thursday, the country recorded the highest single-day infections (8293) since the outbreak in mid-February. A day earlier, highest single-day deaths (415) had been reported in the country.

Last week, Rafsanjani said he had proposed that Tehran be “completely shut down” for two weeks, but the government “paid no attention” to his proposal.

The Iranian government this week announced restrictions in 25 provincial capitals and 46 other cities, which will come into effect from Wednesday. However, it has not imposed strict restrictions in Tehran.

The alarming surge in the mortality rate in the capital city has put burdens not only on the healthcare workers but also on the cemeteries that are reportedly running full.

A member of the Tehran City Council last week said three more public cemeteries would be built in south, east and west of Tehran.

Until the new cemeteries are ready, the capacity of Behesht e Zehra, the country’s biggest public cemetery situated in south Tehran, should be increased, he said.

Rafsanjani said the government’s “lack of attention” has led to the “current situation”, while adding that the difficult economic situation caused by US sanctions is making the matters worse.

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