Iran continued to reel from a spike in Covid-19 infections, as the Ministry of Health reported a total of 488,236 cases in the country. The Ministry said there had been a record breaking 4,392 new cases in just 24 hours, with ambulances scrambling to find hospital beds for Covid-19 patients.

Iran, which has the highest infection rate in the Middle East, has reported a total of 27,888 deaths from the virus.

The Trump administration imposed another round of punishing sanctions on Iran, targeting its financial sector ahead of the U.S. elections.

The U.S. Treasury Department said 18 Iranian banks had been blacklisted but confirmed that the sanctions did not apply to transactions involving agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices to Iran.

Narges Mohammadi, an anti death penalty campaigner who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, was freed on Wednesday night after her sentence was reduced. Mohammadi was jailed in 2016 for establishing a campaign group deemed to be illegal by the regime. The Iranian government has not given an explanation for her early release.

Meanwhile, Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist was placed on furlough after receiving a six-year jail sentence on national security charges in May. Adelkhah is staying with her family in Tehran, Iran’s capital, while on temporary release.

And Iranian composer Mohammad Reza Shajarian has died at the age of 80. The composer is credited with reviving Iran’s classical music, and was seen by Iranians as a symbol for the opposition after expressing concern over the disputed 2009 elections in Iran.

Shajarian’s fans gathered outside his hospital to sing one of his best known songs this week. The touching tributes were captured in videos which were shared across social media.