The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus surged to 5,957 as 80 new deaths were reported, state media said on Wednesday.

A total of 1,073 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 93,657, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement by the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

Jahanpour said 73,791 people have recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 2,965 patients are in critical condition.

A total of 453,386 tests have been conducted 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 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 which 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 217,500 people, with total infections exceeding 3.12 million, while more than 935,300 have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

* Writing by Zehra Nur Duz.

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