The death toll due to the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 om Iran rose by 119 to 21,020, the health ministry's spokeswoman told the state TV on Wednesday, with the total number of confirmed cases rising to 365,606.

Sima Sadat Lari mentioned that the 2,243 new cases of the deadly novel coronavirus were identified in the last 24 hours in Iran, rising from 2,213 virus cases a day earlier.

COVID-19 in Iran

Iran's national flag
Iran's national flag Reuters

"Unfortunately we have been facing a surge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks. I urge everyone to avoid unnecessary trips," Lari said. Iran's top health officials have appealed to Iranians to avoid traveling during the Shi'ite Muslim religious holiday of Ashura later this week to avoid the risk of a new surge of coronavirus infections.

Ashura is the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram when, according to Islamic tradition, Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, was killed in battle in 680. But despite warnings by the authorities against traveling, state media reported heavy traffic on roads leading to the Caspian coast in northern Iran, a favorite destination during holidays.

(With agency inputs)