Citing Iran’s Health Ministry, IRNA reports 542 more Iranians died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Sunday bringing the total deaths to 94,015.

The Ministry said that 39,619 new cases of infection with the COVID-19 were found on August 8, 4,102 of whom were hospitalized.

The Iranian Health Ministry noted that 3,539,035 patients out of a total of 4,158,729 infected people have recovered or been discharged from hospitals.

Some 6,462 COVID-19 patients are in critical condition in intensive care units, it added.

The Health Ministry also announced that 12,589,587 Iranians have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 3,072,371 people have so far received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

AP says Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, in early August ordered officials to discuss the possibility of a total national shutdown. The government has been loath to enforce such a lockdown, fearing the damage it would do to an economy reeling from years of American sanctions.

In the face of U.S. sanctions that complicate banking transactions and deep-rooted suspicion of the West, Iran has vigorously promoted the local production of coronavirus vaccines, doling out the experimental COVIran Barekat vaccine to most healthcare workers, according to AP.  Iran’s government announced that its domestic vaccine provides 85% protection from the coronavirus, without disclosing data or details.

The country’s newly inaugurated president, Ebrahim Raisi, publicly received his first dose of the COVIran Barekat shot on Sunday.  He urged public health officials to speed up vaccinations before winter