Shops reopen as Iran passes 50,000 coronavirus deaths

Tehran, Dec 5 (efe-epa).- Iran eased restrictions with the reopening of shops in most of its cities on Saturday, as the country exceeded 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

Despite the grim milestone, businesses were allowed to reopen after a slight drop in new infections as a result of the restrictions imposed over recent weeks.

Over the past 24 hours, 321 people died from Covid-19, bringing the death toll since the first case was detected in the Persian country in February to 50,016.

Iran registered 12,151 new cases over the past 24 hours, for a total 1,028,986 infections.

These figures show a slow but steady improvement over the past week compared to last month, when Iran reported a record of 486 deaths on 16 November and 14,051 fresh cases on November 27. 

The decrease in the new cases is a result of the closure on November 21 for two weeks of non-essential stores and services in high-risk cities, among other measures.

This reduced the cities placed under the maximum health alert from 160 to 64, where the non-essential stores remain closed.

But in the rest of the country’s urban centers – including the capital Tehran – shopping centers, bazaars, pastry shops, real estate agencies and restaurants, among others, reopened on Saturday.

“Restaurant owners can provide services to their customers at a third of the capacity,” until 11 December, the head of the Tehran Chamber of Trade Unions, Qasem Nude Farahani, said according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Opening hours have been extended by two hours until 8pm starting Saturday, Farahani added.

The authorities decided to extend the partial curfew – between 9pm and 4am – to include 278 instead of 160 cities including those that have seen an improvement in infection rates.

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