(Reuters) – Iran passed its daily record of coronavirus infection on Wednesday as cases reached 20,954 – up by more than 3,500 from the previous day, the Iranian health ministry said.
Authorities have blamed the surge above all on millions of Iranians ignoring guidelines and travelling or holding family gatherings during Nowruz, the two-week Iranian New Year holiday that began on March 20.
Iran, the pandemic’s epicentre in the Middle East, has reported a total of 1,984,348 cases. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 193 people had died from the coronavirus since Tuesday, bringing the total of fatalities to 63,699.
The daily cases on Tuesday was 17,430.
Iran said last month that a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic had taken hold in western and central areas of the country, triggered by widespread travel and celebrations during the Iranian New Year holidays.
Authorities have imposed night-time driving curfews in dozens of cities and towns to try to discourage gatherings.
(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom, Editing by Angus MacSwan)