The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus surged to 5,877 as 71 new deaths were reported, state media said on Tuesday.

A total of 1,112 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 92,584, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement by the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

Jahanpour said 72,439 people have recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 2,983 patients are in critical condition.

More than 100 health personnel have died due to the virus so far, according to the official news agency IRNA.

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.

After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 185 countries and regions. Europe and the US are currently the worst-hit regions.

The pandemic has killed over 211,300 people, with total infections exceeding 3 million, while nearly 897,000 have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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