COVID-19: 124 people killed amid 4,747 confirmed cases in Iran

Health personnel wearing protective masks wait for passengers and crew of a Turkish Airlines plane from Tehran.

Health personnel wearing protective masks wait for passengers and crew of a Turkish Airlines plane from Tehran.  

Iran said on Friday that the COVID-19 epidemic has killed 124 people amid 4,747 confirmed cases as authorities warned they may use “force” to limit travel between cities.

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The threat may be to stop people from using the closed schools and universities as an excuse to go to the Caspian Sea and other Iranian vacation spots. Semi-official news agencies in Iran posted images of long lines of traffic of people trying to reach the Caspian coast from Tehran on Friday despite the authorities earlier telling people to remain in their cities.

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Iran on Thursday announced it would put checkpoints in place to limit travel between major cities, hoping to stem the spread of the virus.

Iran cancelled Friday prayers across its major cities. Elsewhere in the region, Iraq cancelled Friday prayers in Karbala, where a weekly sermon is delivered on behalf of the country’s top Shia cleric. Authorities in the United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, limited prayers to two verses of the Quran so they lasted no longer than 10 minutes, over concerns about the virus.

17 more deaths

On Friday, the Iran government announced 17 more deaths from the virus, as the overall number of cases soared. “We have confirmed 1,234 new cases, which is a record in the past few days,” Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a news conference, raising the total number of infections to 4,747.

The new cases “are probably those who had been infected with the virus two weeks ago and... just came to us with symptoms,” he added.

Iran has been scrambling to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus, which has infected people in all 31 of its provinces.

The official said Tehran has 1,413 confirmed cases so far, which is the highest among all provinces and makes it an “epicentre” for the virus.

In Tehran, firefighters sprayed disinfectant on an 18-km length of famous Valiasr Avenue, some from fire-trucks and others walking along its sidewalks, spraying ATMs and storefronts.

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Adviser to FM dies

An adviser to Iran’s Foreign Minister has died from coronavirus, the official IRNA news agency reported. Hossein Sheikholeslam, “a veteran and revolutionary diplomat” died late on Thursday, IRNA said.

Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry

Six of those who died from coronavirus are politicians or government officials. A former Ambassador to Syria, he also served as Deputy Foreign Minister from 1981 to 1997. He was also one of the students involved in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.

The coronavirus has also claimed the lives of other high-profile Iranian officials, including Mohammad Mirmohammadi of the Expediency Council which advises supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 9:54:29 PM |

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