On February 19, the Iranian government announced its first two cases of – and deaths from – the novel coronavirus.
Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 178 people died of the disease during the 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 24,656 in Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the West Asia.
Lari noted that the rate of the observance of health protocols and the use of face masks in the country is declining and at the same time the numbers of the new infections and daily hospitalizations are increasing in most provinces of the country.
She called for further cooperation from people with the country’s health sector in order to overcome the disease.
The ministry’s spokeswoman also said that 1,817 of the new positive cases have been admitted to hospitals.
Among those undergoing treatment, 3,922 patients have critical conditions, Lari said.
At least 363,737 patients have recovered so far or have been discharged from hospitals across Iran, she continued.
The spike in the number of coronavirus cases came days after Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the whole country is on red alert as daily deaths and cases increased at an alarming rate.
“The color classification doesn’t make sense anymore. We no longer have orange and yellow. The entire country is red,” Harirchi said on television on September 18.
“If the current course continues, the death toll will reach 45,000,” he warned.
Iran’s health officials have warned about a third wave of the outbreak, while the government has blamed the spike in infections partly on decline in public adherence to health protocols.
IRNA and Reuters contributed to this story.