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Iran reports 117 new coronavirus deaths, raising total to 4,474

The country’s health ministry spokesperson 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 country, as are cinemas, sports stadiums and shrines.

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