Advertisement

Coronavirus: Death toll rises to 145 in Iran as officials work to contain virus

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says the world is ‘on the verge of reaching 100000 cases’' Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says the world is ‘on the verge of reaching 100000 cases’
WATCH: WHO says the world is ‘on the verge of reaching 100000 cases’ of COVID-19 – Mar 6, 2020

DUBAI — Iran‘s death toll from coronavirus reached 145 on Saturday after another 21 people were confirmed to have died during the last day, among them a conservative lawmaker from Tehran, officials and local news agencies said.

Announcing the latest deaths from the virus, a health ministry official said in a televised briefing that the tally of confirmed infections had increased by more than 1,000 during the last 24 hours, totalling 5,823 by Saturday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called for world opposition to U.S. sanctions which he said were draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Click to play video 'Officials’ tough task of deciding how to slow spread of virus' Officials’ tough task of deciding how to slow spread of virus
Officials’ tough task of deciding how to slow spread of virus – Mar 5, 2020

“(President Donald Trump) @realDonaldTrump is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID19 – while our citizens are dying from it,” Zarif said in a tweet.

Story continues below advertisement

“The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism,” Zarif said, without referring to any new sanctions.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Trump has said he hopes the sanctions will limit Tehran’s ballistic missile program and influence across the Middle East. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and its missiles are for deterrence and defensive purposes.

In Zurich, a senior Swiss government official said on Saturday that a Swiss channel to export food and medicine to Iran’s struggling population without running afoul of U.S. sanctions is off to a good start, with dozens of companies keen to take part.

READ MORE: Coronavirus cases top 100,000 worldwide, sparking global economy concerns

 

Iranian Lawmaker Fatehmeh Rahbar was among those who died on Friday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, in another sign that the disease is spreading within state institutions.

On March 2, Tasnim reported the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi. He was a member of the Expediency Council, an entity that resolves disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council — a hardline watchdog body.

READ MORE: China says nearly all its new coronavirus cases outside Wuhan came from abroad

Story continues below advertisement

 

Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi and another member of parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, have said they have also contracted the virus.

As authorities work to contain the outbreak, Iran’s Mosque Authority postponed all gatherings and celebrations until further notice, the Mehr news agency said.

Iran is the epicentre of the outbreak in the Middle East as most of the cases reported in the region are either people who were in Iran or who caught the virus from people who had visited the country.