May 12, 2020 / 2:32 PM / 16 days ago

Coronavirus has not halted Iranian oil production: oil minister

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh arrives at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) - The coronavirus outbreak has not stopped oil production in Iran, the official IRNA news agency quoted Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying on Tuesday.

The ministry has made strenuous efforts not to halt production in the oil industry while protecting its workers, Zanganeh said.

Iran, one of the Middle East countries hit hardest by the new coronavirus, has begun easing restrictions on normal life to support an economy already battered by U.S. sanctions.

Health officials have repeatedly warned, however, that easing restrictions could lead to a renewed spike in infections.

Iran’s death tally from the virus rose by 48 in the past 24 hours to 6,733, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV. The total number of diagnosed cases has reached 110,767, he said.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by David Goodman

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