According to the latest official statistics on Tuesday, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Iran has considerably increased to the highest level in the past two months prompting Health Minister Saeed Namaki to warn that "circumstances are not normal".
In his daily briefing on Tuesday, the Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Kianoush Jahanpur said "on the basis of final testing results" over the past 24 hours 3,117 new cases have been identified and 64 patients died of COVID-19.
The number of new cases had remained below 2,000 since April 1. The highest number of coronavirus deaths in one day, 157, was registered on April 5. Daily deaths dropped to 40 on May 16 but has been on the rise again.
Dr. Jahanpur also pointed out that the situation in six provinces, including East and West Azarbaijan, is still alarming and Khuzestan Province that had a soaring number of cases in the past month is still considered a red zone despite a minor drop in the number of patients that required hospitalization.
Speaking on the sidelines of COVID-19 Scientific Policymaking Committee on Tuesday Iran's Health Minister said unlike what was believed before, warmer weather does not stop the spread of coronavirus and "the country is not in normal circumstances".
"Same thing that we witnessed in Gilan and Qom is now happening in the warmer southern provinces. The virus is infecting young and old," Dr. Saeed Namaki said.
A day earlier in an interview with the state-run television he had said that people think the epidemic is over. "Two days ago I was in Mashhad. Social distancing is not observed. People are not wearing masks. We've been fighting this for three months. What I saw was appalling," he said and added: "If things go on in the same way, coronavirus will score a goal against us at the last minute".
He also maintained that he was under pressure from officials to put an end to the preventative measures taken.