Iran coronavirus death toll rises to 1,934

Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive from Iran, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, at Najaf airport, in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq February 26, 2020. — Reuters
Passengers wearing protective face masks arrive from Iran, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, at Najaf airport, in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq February 26, 2020. — Reuters

TEHRAN, March 24 — Iran today announced 122 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, raising the official toll to 1,934 in one of the world’s worst hit countries.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said a record 1,762 new cases have been confirmed in Iran over the past 24 hours and 24,811 people are now known to have been infected.

Iran has the fourth highest official death toll from the coronavirus after Italy, China and Spain but, unlike those countries, it has yet to impose any lockdown on its citizens.

On the contrary, the country is in the midst of the two-week Persian New Year holiday when the country’s roads fill with people visiting family.

Despite the authorities’ appeals for people to stay home and the closure of shopping and leisure centres, many people have taken to the roads as usual this year.

Jahanpour announced that when government offices reopen on Tuesday, many civil servants will be working from home.

“Only around a third of government staff are authorised to work in the office and only for administrative tasks vital to the public,” he said, adding that all offices would practise “social distancing”.

On Sunday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians to follow state instructions “so that Almighty God will put an end to this calamity for the Iranian people, for all Muslim nations and for all mankind”. — AFP

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