The number of new coronavirus or COVID-19 in Iran has touched 301,530, as per the official wealth ministry figures of the nation announced on state TV on Thursday as the world grapples with the deadly novel virus.

Iran has the highest number of recorded coronavirus cases in the Middle East and infections and deaths have risen sharply since the start of the restrictions on the movement started to be relaxed in mid-April.

COVID-19 in Iran

Coronavirus
Coronavirus IANS

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.

(With agency inputs)