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COVID-19 Cases Rising In Three Iranian Provinces As Total Reaches 117,000

Coronavirus has killed nearly 7,000 in Iran since it was first reported on February 19.
Coronavirus has killed nearly 7,000 in Iran since it was first reported on February 19.

Iran's Health Ministry spokesman on Friday said the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to increase in three provinces in the coming days as the total number of cases in the country rose to nearly 117,000.

On Friday Dr. Kianoush Jahanpur announced 2,102 new cases. This is the first time in the past week that the number of new daily cases surpasses the 2,000 mark in 24 hours.

The number of officially reported deaths, however, has been going down over the past month from over 100 deaths per day to 48 on Friday which brought the total officially announced deaths from COVID-19 to 6,902.

The situation is still critical in nine cities in Khuzestan where according to the Governor of the province, Gholamreza Shariati, the number of cases has gone up by 60 percent in recent days.

Jahanpur on Wednesday also expressed concern about Khuzestan and said the province had a quarter of all new cases. The Coronavirus Taskforce Spokesman of Khuzestan on Friday said lockdown may continue for another week in some cities.

Reza Nejati also warned about ceremonies planned for Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the month of fasting in the province and said in the cities designated as hotspots these ceremonies will be limited to congregations of less than 50 for no longer than two hours.

Health authorities are concerned about resuming religious gatherings during the month of Ramadhan and particularly the Eid al-Fitr. Shrines and mosques were closed since March and Friday prayers have been cancelled but under pressure from the religious establishment, they have had to allow limited congregations.

The National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce has still not announced a decision about the communal prayer of Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the fasting month and the traditionally held Qods (Quds) Day march in Tehran and other major cities.

On Tuesday for the first time since the lockdown started, authorities allowed thousands of Iranians in the capital Tehran and 400 other cities across the country to gather in mosques and open-air spaces for three-night long Ramadhan ceremonies.