Iran counts 51 new virus deaths

Tehran (AFP) –


Iran said on Friday it had detected another 51 deaths from its novel coronavirus outbreak, bringing the country's overall fatalities to 7,300.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,311 new positive tests for COVID-19 took the country's caseload to 131,652.

Fourteen provinces reported no deaths in the past 24-hour period, while six reported just one fatality.

Iraj Harirchi, deputy minister of health, renewed an appeal for Iranians to avoid unnecessary travel during the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Iranians usually travel between provinces to visit their family and friends during Eid al-Fitr, which will be held on Sunday and Monday in the Islamic republic.

"Moving in the red zones puts us in danger and moving in the white zones puts the inhabitants of these zones in danger," Harirchi was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency on Friday.

Iran reported its first cases of coronavirus on February 19 -- two deaths in the Shiite holy city of Qom.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani was criticised for being slow to react as the virus spread rapidly across the Isamic republic.

It shut schools and places of worship and banned inter-city travel for the Persian New Year holidays in March, but since last month it has gradually eased restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the virus.