ISTANBUL

Iran on Monday confirmed 81 more fatalities from the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 7,878.

A further 2,979 people have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the overall count to 154,445, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said.

Jahanpour said 121,988 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals so far, while 2,578 patients remain in critical condition.

Despite the rising number of cases, government employees went back to work, and mosques resumed daily prayers across the Middle Eastern country on Saturday.

Shopping malls are now open beyond the 6 p.m. (13:30 GMT) closing time imposed as part of the virus restrictions.

Iran started loosening the containment measures in April, and classified areas as white, orange and red, indicating low, medium and high risk for infections.

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