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Coronavirus: Iran reports highest cases for nearly a month

Tehran warns that virus is spreading again in most provinces, with 2,685 new infections reported in the past 24 hours
Iranian women wearing protective gear amid the Covid-19 pandemic, shop at the Tajrish Bazaar market in the capital Tehran on 14 July, 2020 (AFP)

Iran on Sunday reported its highest coronavirus infections in nearly a month, with 208 new deaths in the past 24 hours.

According to the Iranian health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari, some 2,685 new cases of the virus have been detected over the past 24 hours, 1,423 of whom have been hospitalised.

The new figures are the highest single-day count since 8 July, bringing the total number of cases to 309,437 infections and 17,190 fatalities. 

She added that 4,089 other patients are in critical condition and being treated in intensive care units, while a total of 2,508,418 tests have so far been carried out in the country.

The Islamic Republic has faced the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in the Middle East since the first cases were reported in February. 

The infection rates have declined since May, with the imposition of strict lockdown measures. 

'We are concerned that trivialising the situation and lax observance of health protocols may lead to a worsening of the outbreak in the province'

- Iran health ministry

But the country is now reporting a resurgence of cases in most provinces, including the holy city of Qom that was the epicentre of the pandemic in February. 

According to Lari, the situation is "concerning" in 25 out of Iran's 31 provinces.

"Sadly, since late June, daily infections have been on a rising trajectory" in Qom in central Iran, she said.

"We are concerned that trivialising the situation and lax observance of health protocols may lead to a worsening of the outbreak in the province."

Lari warned against travel to Mazandaran, a popular northern tourist resort at the vanguard of the outbreak where daily infections had more than quadrupled in the past six weeks.

Official figures show a marked increase in deaths and infections since the end of June.

As a result, mask-wearing was made compulsory in covered areas and provinces were given powers to reimpose restrictive measures.