Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by more than 100 to 1,556 on Saturday and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
Iran, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic outside China, had on Friday reported a death toll of 1,433 and a total number of confirmed infections of 19,644.
The total number of people diagnosed with the disease stood at 20,610 on Saturday, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on state TV.
Jahanpur warned that coronavirus cases would rise steeply unless people refrain from travelling during the two-week Iranian New Year holiday, which started yesterday.
“If people take it lightly and think that the coronavirus outbreak is over, and if urban and inter-city traffic and gatherings in resorts and natural parks increase … then in one to two weeks we will see a new peak of the disease,” he said according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that social distancing measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak, including travel restrictions, will apply for only two to three weeks, expecting the crisis to ease by then.
Iran “has to do everything necessary to return economic production to normal,” he said in comments broadcast on state TV. He also accused “counter-revolutionaries” of plotting to shut down economic production.