July 3, 2020 / 12:00 PM / a month ago

Take coronavirus seriously, Iranian state media urge people

FILE PHOTO - A woman wearing a protective face mask walks in a street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tehran, Iran, June 28, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Total coronavirus cases rose to 235,429 in Iran on Friday, with 154 deaths in the past 24 hours bringing the death toll to 11,260, authorities said as the country tries to fend off new infections after easing its lockdown restrictions.

Eight out of 31 provinces are considered in a red status, meaning the epidemic has been on the rise, while seven, including the province where Tehran is located, are on alert as the virus is still a threat, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state TV.

State television is airing warnings such as “Coronavirus is very close” and “Let’s take the coronavirus danger seriously”.

Authorities launched a campaign on June 27 to motivate a reluctant public to use face masks. Reporters interviewing people in the streets chastise those who are not wearing them.

The country, which has had the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, has seen a sharp increase in infections and deaths since restrictions were gradually lifted from mid-April.

It has been divided up into white, yellow, and red regions based on the number of infections and deaths.

Editing by Frances Kerry

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