0235 GMT August 15, 2020
According to the Health Ministry, the coronavirus death toll climbed to 12,829 with 194 fatalities from Saturday to Sunday, up from 188 the day before.
Speaking at a daily press conference in Tehran, the ministry’s spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said the total number of people tested positive for COVID-19 in the country has risen to 257,303 following the detection of 2,186 new cases since Saturday.
Of the new cases detected since yesterday, 1,499 patients have been admitted to the hospital, she added.
Nearly 220,000 patients have recovered from the coronavirus infection so far or have been discharged from hospitals across Iran, the spokeswoman said.
Among those undergoing treatment in medical centers at present, 3,359 coronavirus patients have critical health conditions because of more severe infection, Lari noted.
She further said more than 1,972,000 coronavirus diagnostic tests have been carried out in Iran so far.
Iran has been struggling since late February to contain the country's COVID-19 outbreak, the deadliest in West Asia.
The outbreak's rising toll has prompted authorities to make wearing masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces and to allow the hardest hit provinces to reimpose restrictive measures.
Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.
On Saturday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran cannot afford to shut down its economy amid US sanctions which are hampering the country’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
“The closure of businesses is not possible in the long run. No government can shut down its country's economic activities in the long run,” the president said during a televised meeting with the coronavirus taskforce committee in Tehran.
“The way out of these conditions is to carry out the necessary economic, social, cultural and other needs activities in compliance with health protocols. There is no second way. Everyone should try,” Rouhani added.
"The simplest solution is to close down all activities, (but) the next day, people would come out to protest the (resulting) chaos, hunger, hardship, and pressure," he added.
“Our dear people are aware that we have been dealing with COVID-19 for five months and we have had ups and downs regarding this disease,” Rouhani said.
He called on the public to cooperate with the government by observing health protocols.
“If this cooperation is disrupted, our success will be hampered. Coronaphobia and normalization of the virus are both dangerous,” Rouhani said.
The president also called for big gatherings such as weddings and wakes to be banned to stem the rise in coronavirus infections.
IRNA and ISNA contributed to this story.