Iran reports 49 new coronavirus deaths, highest single-day toll

TEHRAN: Iran’s Health Ministry on Sunday announced 49 new fatalities within the space of a day due to the coronavirus, taking deaths in the country to 194, as the virus continued to spread throughout the Middle East.
In Iran, 6,566 people are infected with the virus, a jump of 743 compared to the previous day, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Sunday.
Some 1,800 people are infected in the capital Tehran alone.
The spokesman urged people not to travel to the provinces to avoid unleashing a new wave of infections, and suggested that ideally, people should stay home.
His warning came as millions of Iranians plan trips to the provinces to celebrate Persian new year.
Police have set up road blocks on motorways and main roads to almost all of the country’s provinces. People can still travel to Tehran, however.
Jahanpur added that 2,134 patients have recovered from the virus and been released from hospital.
Although Iran’s authorities are trying to avoid using the word, these measures are in effect a quarantine.
Iranian state airline Iran Air has suspended flights to Europe, a spokeswoman for the country’s civil aviation authorities said on Sunday.
“For reasons unknown to us, European countries have limited Iran Air flights and so we have suspended all flights until further notice,” the spokeswoman said.
She added that Iran Air is carrying out negotiations in order to lift the restrictions on its flights.
Most coronavirus cases reported in the Gulf countries have been linked to trips to Iran, an epicentre of the disease outside China.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday reported four new cases, raising the total of the confirmed infections to 11 in the kingdom.
Three of the new cases are in women, who had contacted an earlier infected person who had recently travelled to Iran, the Saudi Health Ministry said.
The fourth is a Saudi man who had separately travelled to Iran, the ministry added, according to the official Saudi news agency SPA.
Earlier this week imposed the overnight closure of the Grand Mosque in the city of Mecca and the Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque in Medina. — dpa