Iran calls on people to stay at home as death toll rises to 43

Monday, 2 March 2020 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

DUBAI (Reuters): Deaths in Iran from coronavirus have hit 43, the highest number outside China, and the total number of infected people has risen to 593, an Iranian health official said on Saturday.

The country is at the epicentre of the outbreak in the region, with several countries in the Middle East reporting cases of the coronavirus stemming from Iran.

“Unfortunately nine people died of the virus in the last 24 hours, increasing the death toll to 43,” Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told State TV, calling on people to stay at home.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki on Friday warned of “a very difficult week” ahead in Iran, which only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on 19 February and where the death rate among confirmed cases has been around 10%, compared to around 3% elsewhere.

Tehran has ordered the shutting of schools until tomorrow and extended the closure of universities and a ban on concerts and sports events for a week. Authorities have also banned visits to hospitals and nursing homes.

Several high-ranking officials, including a vice minister, the deputy health minister and five lawmakers, have tested positive for the virus as the outbreak forced Iran’s clerical rulers to close the parliament and impose internal travel bans.

One lawmaker, elected in Iran’s 21 February polls, has died of the coronavirus, Iranian media reported on Saturday.


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