The eerie silence in the deserted streets of Tehran is in sharp contrast to the palpable buzz in hospitals these days with the novel coronavirus pandemic assuming alarming proportions and cases mounting.

The total number of confirmed cases has reached 18,407 with the death toll climbing to 1,284. According to the Health Ministry, around 50 new cases and six deaths are reported every hour across the country.

While new cases have seen an inconsistent increase, the fatalities are surging steadily and alarmingly. Thursday’s death toll of 149 is the highest single-day coronavirus death toll in Iran.

The epicenter of

Read more: US sanctions impede Iran’s fight against coronavirus