(Reuters) – Iran registered a record 235 deaths from the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to official health ministry figures released on Tuesday.
The Islamic Republic is the country hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, and COVID-19 infections and deaths have risen sharply since restrictions on movement began to be eased in mid-April.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced on state television that the number of registered coronavirus cases had reached 296,273 cases and the death toll was 16,147.
President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians on Saturday to observe health protocols and practise social distancing during coming Muslim festivities.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, speaking on state television on Saturday, urged people not to visit the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, where he said there had been a 300% increase in COVID-19 cases over a one-month period.
From the end of this month, Muslims around the world will mark the Eid al-Adha feast. This year, Saudi Arabia will limit the number of domestic pilgrims attending haj to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh,; Editing by Gareth Jones and Timothy Heritage)