The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus surged to 6,028 as 71 new deaths were reported, state media said on Thursday.

A total of 983 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 94,640, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement by the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

Jahanpour said 75,103 people have recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 2,976 patients are in critical condition.

A total of 463,295 tests have been conducted in the country, he added.

In Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the pandemic, COVID-19 was first detected in the city of Qom on Feb. 19, and then spread throughout the country.

The government refrained from imposing a total lockdown as seen in many other countries, but extended closure of educational institutions and banned cultural, religious, and sports gatherings.

Authorities, meanwhile, have in phases since April 11 allowed the reopening of businesses which have been closed as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. The state also plans to reopen mosques in parts of the country that have been consistently free of the virus.

After originating in China last December, the coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed nearly 228,000 people, with total infections exceeding 3.2 million, while more than 983,500 have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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