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Coronavirus outbreak: Iranian lawmaker dead, country’s toll rises to 145

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a square in western Tehran, Iran. File

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a square in western Tehran, Iran. File   | Photo Credit: AP

The death toll from COVID-19 in Iran continued to rise on Saturday with 21 more people killed, including a politician who became the eighth official to succumb to the disease. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced 1,076 additional cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall tolls to 145 dead and 5,823 infected.

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“More than 16,000 people are currently hospitalised as suspect cases,” Mr. Jahanpour said during a news conference. He added that 1,669 people who were sick with the COVID-19 illness have recovered.

Iran is battling one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks of the disease outside China, where it originated. The capital Tehran remains the worst-hit province, with 1,539 confirmed cases.

On Saturday, a newly elected conservative MP for the city was the second Iranian lawmaker killed by the virus, state news agency IRNA reported. Fatemeh Rahbar, 55, served as MP from 2004 to 2016 and was among the top candidates in Tehran for the conservatives, who overwhelmingly won February’s general election marked by the lowest turnout in the Islamic republic’s history.

 

Seven other politicians and government officials have died in the outbreak since the country reported its first cases in mid-February. Iran has closed schools and universities until early April, as well as suspended major cultural and sporting events and reduced working hours across the country to slow the contagion, which has spread to all of its 31 provinces.

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The number of infections is climbing in northern provinces in particular, Mr. Jahanpour said.

More than 300 of the new cases reported on Saturday were in Mazandaran province, a popular tourist destination north of Tehran on the Caspian sea.

“Mazandaran is at the top of the list because the necessary limitations (on domestic travelling) were not imposed,” Mr. Jahanpour added.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 10:11:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-outbreak-iranian-lawmaker-dead-countrys-toll-rises-to-145/article31011349.ece

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