As many as 187 new coronavirus-related fatalities have raised the death toll in Iran to 26,567, the Health Ministry said on Friday. 

A total of 3,552 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, pushing the overall count up to 464,596, according to ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari.

She said more than 385,264 patients have recovered so far, while 4,137 are hospitalized in critical condition.

Over 4.67 million tests have been conducted in Iran to date.

Lari said 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces are currently in the red zone with high risk of coronavirus transmission.

Iran is struggling to contain the pandemic since February, when the first cases were confirmed in the city of Qom.

In recent weeks, Iran has seen a significant surge in new infections and fatalities after restrictions were eased, drawing criticism from health activists.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki earlier warned that the country was in the grip of a third wave after managing to overcome the first two waves.

Since starting in China in late December last year, the coronavirus pandemic has spread worldwide, claiming over 1.02 million lives in 188 countries and regions, and causing nearly 34.3 million infections, according to the latest figures from the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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