Iran is still facing the first epidemic wave, the Iranian Ministry of Health said Tuesday, refuting suspicions of a second wave the day after the announcement of the highest number of daily deaths linked to the new coronavirus.

“Currently, the coronavirus reaches a peak in the border provinces or cities which did not know it during the first months of the epidemic,” explained Sima Sadat Lari, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, when asked by the official Irna agency.

“Therefore, we are still in the presence of the first wave in the country,” she added.

This is not a second epidemic wave: it would be if the provinces, which had already recorded “a significant peak” in contamination, again recorded an increase in infections, she said.

On Monday, Ms. Lari announced 162 deaths in 24 hours, caused by the Covid-19 disease in Iran, the country most affected in the Near and Middle East since the appearance of the first cases on its soil in February.

This is the highest daily report since the start of the pandemic by the authorities – the figures of which are questioned by foreign experts and certain Iranian officials, who suspect them of being largely underestimated.

After registering its lowest daily balance sheet in early May, Iran has been facing a further increase in the number of deaths and infections in recent weeks, raising fears of a second epidemic wave, which the authorities have repeatedly denied.

The state has never imposed compulsory containment on its population, but has canceled any public event, prohibited any movement between the 31 provinces and closed non-essential businesses in March, before gradually lifting the restrictions from April to try to revive its economy.

As the epidemic continues, the authorities have given the green light to the provinces most affected – those classified as “red” according to the risk scale established by the authorities – to re-establish restrictions on their populations.

These are the provinces of Khuzestan, Khorassan-é-Razavi, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Bouchehr, Western and Eastern Azerbaijan, and Hormozgan, all located along the borders of Iran.