Paramedics test samples taken from patients with the new coronavirus, at a laboratory in Ahvaz, Iran. AP
Iran on Thursday reported 75 new deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, bringing the death toll to 429 in the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
"We have identified 1,075 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, meaning that there are 10,075 infected people in the country. The death toll is 429," Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state television.
An Iranian woman wears a protective face mask, following the coronavirus outbreak, as she walks in Tehran. Reuters
The outbreak has infected a host of senior officials, politicians, clerics and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards in Iran, the fourth worst-affected nation after China, South Korea and Italy.
At least seven officials and politicians have died since Feb. 19, when Iran announced first infections and two deaths from the virus.
Iran's clerical rulers have been struggling to contain the spread of the virus, despite the closure of schools and universities and the suspension of religious, cultural and sports events across the country.
Iranian officials have repeatedly urged people to avoid unnecessary trips and stay at home.
"Stay at home. Don't go shopping. You are making our job more difficult by ignoring the advice," Health Minister Saeed Namaki told Iranians on a live programme.
In moves to prevent panic over the coronavirus in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani appealed to people not to spread rumours and the judiciary banned most officials from announcing numbers of those infected.
India has also closed a border with neighbouring Myanmar to counter the coronavirus outbreak, as countries across South Asia reported a rise in cases on Wednesday. No cases have so far been confirmed in Myanmar.
Coronavirus concerns led Saudi Arabia to cut off air and sea travel with Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The kingdom had earlier closed off its land borders as well.
A total of 75,538 deaths have been recorded, including 53,928 in Europe, the continent worst hit by the virus. The official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of cases. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
According to a government statement 1,587 fatalities in the last 24 hours, lowest in the last two months. On June 15, India recorded 60,461 cases, lowest since March 29.
The attack is the third mass kidnapping in three weeks in northwest Nigeria, which have authorities have attributed to armed bandits seeking ransom payments.
Police in Ghaziabad in northern Uttar Pradesh state this week registered a case after a video shared widely by Twitter users this week showed a few men, apparently Hindu, beating an elderly man believed to be a Muslim and cutting his beard.