Iran's death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 15,000, health authorities announced Thursday, as the country struggles to contain the Middle East's deadliest outbreak.
"Unfortunately we lost 221 of our dear compatriots to the COVID-19 disease in the course of the past 24 hours," health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.
The fatalities bring the total number of deaths to 15,074 in the Islamic republic.
The country has faced a rise in cases and deaths since the end of June, reporting on Tuesday the highest single-day death toll of 229 since announcing its first cases in February.
Lari urged Iranians to avoid all non-essential travel, enclosed spaces and large gatherings to help stem the spread of the virus.
She added that an additional 2,621 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed, bringing the total caseload to 284,034.