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Iran to double coronavirus tests to 100,000 per day

An Iranian woman wearing a face mask walks outdoors in Tehran, Iran November 8, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/Files

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran plans to more than double the number of coronavirus tests it carries out daily to 100,000, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on Tuesday, as the total number of detected cases surpassed 700,000 in the Middle East’s worst-affected country.

Both the daily death toll and the number of new cases were near record highs. Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that 453 people had died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 39,202.

She said 10,339 new cases were detected, lifting the total tally to 703,288.

“Tests have now increased from 25,000 to 40,000 per day and will soon increase to 100,000 with ... rapid tests,” said Namaki, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.

Iran’s government has imposed restrictions as the country battles a third wave of the virus. Starting on Tuesday, for one month, all non-essential businesses must close at 6 p.m in major cities, state media reported.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky