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Coronavirus: Death toll rises to 291 in Iran as officials struggle to contain virus

A worker wearing protective gear disinfects the offices at the building of Gaza municipality to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, in Gaza City, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
A worker wearing protective gear disinfects the offices at the building of Gaza municipality to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, in Gaza City, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Iran said Tuesday that the new coronavirus had killed 54 more people, raising the death toll to 291 amid 8,042 cases in the Islamic Republic.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour made the announcement in a televised news conference. It represented an 18 per cent increase in deaths from the day before and 12 per cent more confirmed cases.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Saudi Arabia imposes travel restrictions as death toll rises in Iran

Iran is the hardest-hit country in the Mideast by the new coronavirus, which sickens but largely doesn’t kill those afflicted. Across the region, there are over 8,600 confirmed cases of the virus.

For most people, the COVID-19 illness caused by the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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Meanwhile, Lebanon announced a 56-year-old man had died from the coronavirus, marking the first known death in the country, a Health Ministry official said Tuesday. The official said the man had recently returned from Egypt. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements.

Major jump in COVID-19 cases in B.C., including first case of community transmission
Major jump in COVID-19 cases in B.C., including first case of community transmission

Lebanon has 41 confirmed cases of of the new coronavirus — most of them linked to Iran. At least one patient who returned from Iran has left the hospital after two weeks successful treatment.

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According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

Lebanon has been hit by a severe financial and economic crisis since October, particularly after mass protests against the country’s ruling elite broke out in October. But street demonstrations have been minimal since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

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Saudi Arabia closed off air and sea travel to 14 countries affected by the new virus Monday, while Israel ordered two weeks of home quarantine for anyone arriving from overseas. The outbreak in Israel has been largely contained, but it has begun to gain pace in recent days, with a total of 51 cases diagnosed as of Tuesday.

On Monday, Mideast stock markets tumbled over fears about the widening outbreak’s effect on the global economy. The drop in the markets came as global oil prices suffered their worst losses since the start of the 1991 Gulf War. Other Mideast markets fell as well as the new coronavirus has affected global energy prices and OPEC failed to make a production cut deal with Russia last week.

Worldwide, there are over 110,000 confirmed cases of the new virus, with more than 3,800 deaths attributed to it. The number of people who have recovered is about 62,000.