July 30 (Reuters) – The number of infections from the new coronavirus in Iran has reached 301,530, according to official Health Ministry figures announced on state TV on Thursday.
Iran has the Middle East’s highest number of recorded COVID-19 cases and infections and deaths have risen sharply since restrictions on movement began to be eased in mid-April.
There were 226 deaths from the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours taking the total number of deaths from the pandemic to 16,569.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged people on Saturday to observe health protocols and practice social distancing during upcoming Muslim festivities, as a health official said there had been a surge in coronavirus infections in a major holy city.
Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, speaking on state television on Saturday, urged people not to visit the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, which he said had seen an increase of 300% 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 drastically limit the number of pilgrims attending haj to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alison Williams and Mike Collett-White)