ANKARA 

The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus rose to 6,541, as 55 new deaths were reported over the last 24 hours, state media reported on Friday.

A further of 1,556 more people tested positive for COVID-19 over the past day, bringing the total number of cases to 104,691, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement from the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

Jahanpour said 83,837 people have recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 2,711 others are in critical condition.

Nearly 558,900 tests have been conducted so far 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 decided against imposing a total lockdown as seen in many other countries, but did close educational institutions and banned cultural, religious, and sports gatherings.

Since April 11, authorities in phases have allowed the reopening of “low-risk” businesses closed as part of measures to contain the virus’ spread.

According to Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) on Wednesday, the government decided to reopen hair salons in the country.

President Hassan Rouhani said last Sunday the country would reopen mosques in districts that saw a decline in the number of coronavirus infections as of Monday.

He also said Friday prayers congregations will resume in 132 towns and cities labeled “white” or “low-risk” areas, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

The government also plans to reopen schools in the low-risk areas as of May 16, Rouhani said.

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

Close to 3.86 million cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll nearing 269,800 and around 1.28 million recoveries, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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