(Reuters) – Iran’s total deaths from coronavirus surpassed 50,000 on Saturday, with more than one million people infected, although transmission rates in the Middle East’s worst-affected country were slowing, state TV reported.
Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, shopping malls and several other businesses re-opened after a two-week shutdown, following a 10-percent drop in infections over the past days.
Officials cautioned that the situation remained “fragile” in Tehran and in the other cities that have moved from the coronavirus red alert to the lower risk orange level, said the broadcast.
Iran’s health ministry recorded a total of 50,016 coronavirus deaths on Saturday with 321 new fatalities in the past 24 hours.
Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV that
12,181 people had been infected with the coronavirus since Friday, taking the total number of COVID-19 infections to 1,028,986.
President Hassan Rouhani warned against complacency.
“We were heading toward the 500 daily death” toll, Rouhani said in televised remarks, adding that 64 of the 160 cities that were put under red alert two weeks ago remained at high risk.
He warned that Tehran was teetering towards the “red border” and could return to the higher risk level within a week or two if appropriate health protocols are not observed.
Tougher restrictions were enforced on November 21 in Iran’s major cities, such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad, where non-essential businesses and services were shut down, including shops, malls, and restaurants.
(Editing by Ros Russell)