Iran says 164 health care professionals among pandemic dead

TEHRAN, iran (AP) — Iran’s health minister said Saturday that at least 164 health care professionals have died while battling the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.

The official IRNA news agency quoted Saeed Namaki as saying new cases have been reported that will be added to that number.

The latest toll of health care worker deaths from the virus is 26 more than the 138 cases reported July 22. Iran at the time said some 12,000 health care workers had been infected.

Iran is grappling with the deadliest outbreak of the virus in the Middle East.

Earlier on Saturday, the country put the total death toll from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, at 20,502 out of nearly 356,800 confirmed cases.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said 126 patients died since Friday and there were 2,028 new confirmed cases over the same period. She said 3,850 patients are in critical condition, though 307,702 have recovered so far.