Iran: virus deaths continue to fall but capital remains hotspot

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New figures from Iran’s Health Ministry on Saturday suggest the country’s daily count of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to fall.

Just 50 new virus-related deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours, ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Saturday, down from daily highs of more than 700 in mid-March.

Over the same period the country confirmed 1,520 new coronavirus cases, though the majority did not need to be hospitalised, the spokesman told Iranian state TV.

More than 6,500 people have now died in Iran as a result of the pandemic, Jahanpur said, from more than 105,000 confirmed infections.

Infection rates remained critical only in the capital Tehran and the south-western province of Khuzestan, he added.

International observers doubt the accuracy of these claims, but can only speculate about the true situation on the ground.

Iran has lifted further restrictions on public life in recent days, with beauty and hairdressing salons reopening across the country.

Mosques have also opened their doors in a number of towns the government has declared free of the virus.

However, mosques, schools and universities in larger cities remain closed for the time being.