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Iran said on Sunday it would limit travel to the cities hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, state television said amid a record high in daily COVID-19 deaths.

The measure comes into effect on Monday noon and will last until Friday, the broadcaster reported, citing an order from the Interior Ministry.

The restrictions prevent residents and non-residents from leaving based on vehicle registration plates, but do not apply to public transport.

It applies to the capitals of 25 provinces that are considered “red” – the highest level on Iran’s color-coded risk scale – and includes the capital Tehran with more than 8 million inhabitants.

Violations will be fined, the order will be added.

Limited restrictive measures were imposed in these cities on Saturday, forcing some public spaces and businesses to close.

Iran has been hardest hit by COVID-19 in the Middle East, seeing multiple daily deaths and infection highs in the past few days.

Daily deaths hit a record 434 on Sunday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said, adding that 7,719 more people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.

According to official information, a total of 35,298 people died of coronavirus.

The rising toll has prompted several health experts and officials to call for a complete lockdown of the capital.

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© 2020 AFP

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