Iran reports most new cases of COVID-19 since outbreak began

Iran announces 3,574 new cases of coronavirus, the most in one day since the pandemic started.

Elad Benari ,

Coronavirus test swab
Coronavirus test swab

Iran announced 3,574 new infections of coronavirus Thursday, the most in one day since the pandemic started, AFP reported.

After hitting a near two-month low in early May, novel coronavirus infections have been on a rising trajectory in the Islamic Republic, which is battling the Middle East's deadliest outbreak of the disease.

Thursday was the fourth straight day that the daily caseload had topped 3,000, noted AFP. The previous high was 3,186, recorded on March 30, at the height of the initial outbreak.

The health ministry has been taking no chances and has stepped up a public health campaign in recent days.

"Not respecting social distancing and public and personal hygiene rules, along with undertaking unnecessary travel, can have irreparable consequences," warned an announcement running on repeat on the state television information channel.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said Thursday that 59 people had died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, taking Iran's overall official toll to 8,071.

Despite the uptick in new infections, the official number of daily deaths has remained below 100 in recent weeks.

Iran announced its first cases of COVID-19 on February 19. At least 31 members of the Iranian parliament contracted the virus, including its speaker Ali Larijani, who tested positive for COVID-19.

High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.

A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was also reported to have been infected with the virus.

A total of 164,270 people have tested positive for the virus since the first cases were announced in February.