Iran Reports Most New Coronavirus Cases since Outbreak Began

Iran announced 3,574 new coronavirus infections Thursday, the most in one day since the pandemic started, as authorities increase health warnings following a resurgence in recorded cases.

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.

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.

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

There has been some scepticism at home and abroad about Iran's official figures, with concerns the real toll could be much higher.

Officials have appeared to suggest that the surge in new cases could be the result of wider testing rather than a second wave of infection.

Jahanpour said Thursday that Iran had now conducted more than a million tests.

The state TV channel has also been broadcasting an animated info-graphic, accompanied by dramatic music, saying that Iran was faring much better than other countries in the pandemic.

Although it has registered the most deaths from the virus in the Middle East, official figures put its toll far behind several other countries in Europe and beyond.