March 6, 2020 / 2:48 PM / a month ago

Iran says virus death toll jumps by 17 with 1,000-plus new infections

An Iranian man wears a protective face mask, following the coronavirus outbreak, as he walks in Tehran, Iran March 5, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s death toll from coronavirus infections jumped on Friday to 124, as 17 died and more than 1,000 new cases were diagnosed over 24 hours, the health ministry said.

Continued high volumes of traffic between cities are contributing to spreading the disease, a ministry spokesman said in on state TV. Authorities might resort to coercive measures to restrict such movement, said, without elaborating.

Iranian authorities have made repeated calls to the population to avoid public places and stay at home, while schools, universities, cultural and sports centers have been temporarily closed across the country.

The number of infections rose to 4,747, he said. Iran had reported 3,513 on Thursday.

Most of the cases diagnosed in neighbouring Gulf countries have been either people who travelled to Iran or who got infected by Iranians.

Saudi Arabia on Friday called on citizens to declare visits to Iran in the past 14 days, as part of measures to contain the outbreak, according to its civil aviation authority.

Members of the kingdom’s Shi’ite minority tend to keep their visits to Iran secret. The two countries are bitter rivals.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; editing by John Stonestreet

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