Tehran (AFP) — Iran on Sunday announced 117 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the overall official toll to 4,474, even as it eased some restrictions that had been imposed to slow the spread of the illness.
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour also told a news conference that 1,657 new infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 71,686.
Iran has carried out 263,388 tests for the virus so far, he added.
Of those confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 and admitted to hospitals, 43,894 have recovered and been discharged, while 3,930 are in a critical condition.
Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19 and has so far become the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
The new tolls come as Iran has started a gradual reopening of its sanctions-hit economy.
On Saturday, it allowed small businesses to reopen outside the capital and this will be extended to the capital Tehran on April 18.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also announced in a cabinet meeting that an intercity travel ban in place since last month would be lifted on April 20.
But he repeated calls on Iranians to limit movements outside to “necessary” tasks and remain vigilant, as it remains difficult to “comment on the future” of Iran’s battle with the virus.
Schools and universities are still shut across the Islamic republic, as are cinemas, sports stadiums and revered Shiite Muslim shrines.