Iran on Monday reopened mosques in parts of the country deemed at low risk from coronavirus, as it said almost 80,000 people hospitalised with the illness had recovered and been released.
According to the Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, 74 new fatalities brought to 6,277 the total number officially recorded in Iran since it reported its first cases in mid-February.
On Sunday, the country has recorded 47 deaths, its lowest daily count in 55 days.
Jahanpour further said that another 1,223 cases of COVID-19 infections were recorded in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 98,647.
The country has started using a colour-coded system of “white”, “yellow” and “red” for different areas to classify the virus risk.
Worshippers were obliged to enter mosques with masks and gloves and told they can only stay for half an hour during prayer times and must use their personal items, health ministry said.
Mosques were told to refrain from offering them food and drinks, provide hand sanitisers and disinfect all surfaces, it said in a statement published by ISNA news agency.
79,397 of those hospitalised with the disease since Iran reported its first cases in mid-February have been discharged, while 2,676 are in critical condition, health ministry added.
Last month, President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had discussed the recent situation related to the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic during a telephonic conversation.
Earlier, Iran allowed businesses to reopen after shutting most of its economy down in mid-March, except those with “high-risk” like restaurants and gyms.
President Rouhani said Iran had “succeeded in effectively preventing the spread of this virus in many” parts of the country.
Speaking at a televised videoconference meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, Rouhani said Iran’s response to the outbreak “has in instances been evaluated to be beyond international standards.”
The reopening of the economy has drawn criticism from health experts and even some officials from the government. Officials have urged Iranians to refrain from using public transportation as they go back to work and lifted some traffic restrictions in the capital Tehran.
US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran in 2018, targeting key oil and banking sectors.
The United States continues to be the worst-affected with 11,66,083 cases and 67,913 deaths.
Meanwhile, on the global front, the number of cases has now surpassed with 2,51, 510 deaths, although the rate of fatalities and new cases has slowed from peaks reached last month.
(With inputs from agency)