Iran reports 2,102 new virus cases, highest in over month

Tehran (AFP) – Iran on Friday released its largest number of new coronavirus infections in more than a month, warning of clusters reaching new regions.

The Islamic Republic has been struggling to contain the virus that causes COVID-19 disease since its first cases emerged in mid-February.

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Ministry of Health spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,102 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 116,635.

That number is the highest announced by Iran in a single day since April 6.

Jahanpour said the virus killed another 48 lives in the same period, bringing the total number of deaths to 6,902.

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Khuzestan province, in the southwest of the country, remained "red" – the highest level of Iran's color-coded risk scale.

Several provinces can be added to this alert level, he said.

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"Other provinces in which we can see increasing infections are Lorestan, Sistan and Baluchistan and East Azerbaijan," said Jahanpour in televised comments.

The spokesman issued what he called a "warning" to provincial residents to observe health protocols.

Lorestan is in western Iran, in eastern Azerbaijan in the northwest, and in Sistan and Baluchestan in the southeast, on the border with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Jahanpour said on Thursday that the province of North Khorasan, in the northeast, may also be close to "critical condition".

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So far, Khuzestan is the only province where authorities have repositioned stringent measures such as closing deals after an April relaxation across the country.

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Iran stopped publishing provincial coronavirus data last month.

Of those hospitalized with COVID-19, 91,836 recovered and were discharged.

National and foreign experts expressed skepticism about Iran's official figures, saying the actual number could be much higher.

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