"Ten new cases have been [identified] between yesterday and noon today, eight of them in Qom and two in Tehran. The total now stands at 28. Unfortunately, five people have passed away," Kianush Jahanpur told state channel IRINN.
Qom reported the first infection with the COVID-19 disease on Wednesday, and all those infected either live there or traveled to the holy city before testing positive, Jahanpur said.
Iraq has meanwhile closed the ground border with Iran over concerns of a possible spillover. Iranian news agency Fars on Saturday reported a halt in pilgrimages to Shiite shrines in the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf.