Iran on Wednesday confirmed 81 more fatalities from the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide death toll to 8,506. 

A further 2,011 people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the overall count to 177,938, Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari said.

According to the spokesman, 140,590 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals so far.

Some 1.15 million tests have been conducted in the country to date, Lari said.

Iran’s daily number of COVID-19 cases dropped to around 800 in early May, but daily figures show an upward trend, especially in the southwestern Khuzestan province, in recent days after authorities took steps to ease restrictions.

Despite the rising number of infections, government employees have resumed work, and mosques reopened across the Middle Eastern country.

The pandemic has claimed more than 411,600 lives in 188 countries and regions since originating in China last December. The US, Brazil and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries.

Over 7.25 million cases have been reported worldwide, while more than 3.38 million people have recovered so far, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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