June 18, 2020 / 6:27 PM / a month ago

Iran's death toll from coronavirus outbreak approaches 10,000

FILE PHOTO: Iranian clerics wearing protective face masks attend the Friday prayers in Qarchak Jamee Mosque, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tehran province, in Qarchak, Iran, June 12, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Ali Khara via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) - Iran is approaching 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in the country, according to official figures from the Ministry of Health.

There have been nearly 200,000 people infected with the new coronavirus in the Islamic Republic and the number deaths in a single day from the pandemic topped 100 for the first time in two months on Sunday.

After gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, Iran has seen a sharp rise of new infections in recent weeks, with five provinces currently considered to be red zones where infections have been on the rise.

Iran recorded 87 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 9,272. The total number of cases in the country has reached 197,647, of whom 156,991 people have recovered.

“The statistics show that in recent days every 12 to 15 minutes an Iranian lost their life because of #corona,” Mizan, the news agency of the Iranian judiciary, tweeted on Thursday.

The Iranian parliament’s research centre issued a report in April that suggested that the actual number of coronavirus death might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

Despite the recent spike in infections and deaths, Friday prayers were scheduled to resume in Tehran starting next week, the official IRNA news agency said. 

President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Iran would reimpose restrictions to stem the surge in coronavirus cases if health regulations were not observed.

But footage aired on state TV in recent days showed many Iranians in shopping malls and on public transport not practicing social distancing or wearing masks or gloves.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alex Richardson

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