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Iran Reports 122 New Coronavirus Deaths As It Set To Reopen ‘Low-Risk’ Businesses

An Iranian man wearing a face mask walks past a closed shopping mall at Tajrish bazaar, in Tehran, April 10, 2020

Iran’s Health Ministry has reported 122 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus, taking the overall death toll in the Middle East’s worst-hit country to 4,232.

Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on April 10 that 1,972 new infections were recorded in the past 24 hours, putting the total at 68,192.

Jahanpour also said 35,465 people have recovered from the COVID-19 respiratory disease since the outbreak began in February.

"In the past 24 hours, we have unfortunately seen an increase in cases of disease in five to eight provinces, including Tehran," Jahanpour said.

The announcement comes as Iran is set to reopen what officials call "low-risk" businesses.

President Hassan Rohani has ordered the country's economy to slowly begin opening back up starting April 11, leading to worries Iran could see a second wave of infections.

"Of course we don't want any more coronavirus victims; at the same time we don't want to let people starve to death," Rohani said on April 8, noting that many people have gone two months without being paid.

Iran’s economy is suffering under intense U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19. Many experts have repeatedly said that the real number of deaths and infections in the country could be higher than reported by Iranian officials.

Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, Reuters