A total of 138 health personnel have died due to the coronavirus pandemic in Iran since the first case was detected in February, according to the ISNA news agency.

Some 60% of the health personnel who lost their lives were doctors, while 21% were nurses, ISNA quoted Iranian Health Council Public Relations Manager Hossein Kirmanpur as saying.

Service and laboratory personnel made up 19% of the fatalities.

Iran recorded a total of 278,827 infections and 14,634 fatalities so far, according to country’s health ministry.

One of the first countries in the region to witness the COVID-19 outbreak, the first two deaths in Iran were reported in the city of Qom, 140 km south of Tehran, on Feb. 19.

In the first wave of the virus, the highest single-day deaths (158) were reported on April 4, before the daily deaths dropped to their lowest level (34) on May 25.

After a remarkable comeback in June that prompted authorities to ease the lockdown, daily cases and deaths both saw steep rise again in July.

To contain the new surge in infections, the government made adherence to health protocol mandatory from July 5, including wearing of masks in public places.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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