TEHRAN: Iran on Monday (Oct 19) reported 337 deaths from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily tally since February, pushing the death toll in the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country to 30,712.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 4,251 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's total number of identified cases to 534,631.
"In recent days, we have witnessed an unprecedented increase in mortality from the disease," Lari said in televised remarks.
"The current situation is the result of neglecting to comply with health protocols, reduced use of masks and dangerous social behaviour in recent weeks."
To fight rising infections, the government has extended restrictions and closures in the capital Tehran, where schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions have been closed since Oct 3.
The country's health officials have warned that daily deaths could hit 600 if Iranians failed to adhere to health protocols in public.
Mask-wearing has became mandatory in public in Tehran, where the infection rate has been highest, and violations are punishable by fines.
Officials plan to impose the same restrictions in other large cities with high infection rates.