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FILE PHOTO: Iranians wearing face masks walk on a street after Iranian authorities made it mandatory for all to wear face masks in public following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID19), in Tehran Iran October 10, 2020. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is planning new restrictions, including state employees working every other day in the capital Tehran, after a record surge in coronavirus cases on Friday, a senior official said.

Iran’s Health Ministry reported 6,134 new cases for the previous 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 556,891 in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country.

“One decision by the Tehran Coronavirus Taskforce is for staff at state bodies to be cut by 50% next week, and coming to work every other day,” taskforce head Alireza Zali told state news agency IRNA.

He said authorities were also looking into having various job categories start work at different times to ease crowding and traffic.

The restrictions were expected to last for about a month in Tehran, where the coronavirus spread has been particularly alarming, Zali added.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari earlier told state TV that 335 people had died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing total fatalities to 31,985, as Iran fights a third wave of the disease.

Meanwhile, flag-carrier IranAir said it was resuming European flights which had been suspended in March because of the pandemic.

Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Cawthorne

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