Iran reported its single biggest jump in deaths from the new coronavirus on Wednesday, saying that another 147 had died in a nearly 15 per cent spike that raises the death toll to 1,135 people nationwide.
It marks the biggest 24-hour rise in deaths since officials first acknowledged cases of the virus in Iran in mid-February.
The rise in deaths comes as the number of cases continues to grow each day, with some 17,361 people having been infection nationwide, according to a briefing Wednesday by Iran’s deputy health minister, Alireza Raisi.
The outbreak has cast a shadow over the Persian New Year, Nowruz, a normally joyous holiday that begins on Friday. Health officials have urged the public to avoid travel and crowded places. But many seem to be ignoring the warnings, raising the risk of further outbreaks.
Some food markets in the capital, Tehran, were still packed on Wednesday, and highways were crowded with traffic as families travelled between cities. Iran also announced it would close mosques for communal Friday prayers for a third consecutive week. Other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also cancelled Friday prayers in mosques.
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