The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 6,277, as 74 new deaths were reported over the past 24 hours, state media said on Monday.

A total of 1,223 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total cases to 98,647, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement by the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

Jahanpour said 79,397 people have recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 2,676 other patients are in critical condition.

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 that 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.

Since first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 187 countries and regions, with the US and Europe the hardest-hit areas.

Over 3.52 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 247,700 and more than 1.13 million recoveries, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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