Iran reports 135 new virus deaths, raising total to 988

By: AFP      Published: 04:12 PM, 17 Mar, 2020
Iran reports 135 new virus deaths, raising total to 988
People gather outside the closed doors of the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Iran's holy city of Qom. AFP

Iran announced on Tuesday another 135 deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the overall toll to 988 in one of the world's worst-hit countries.

"Reports by more than 56 laboratories indicated that we have had 1,178 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the past 24 hours," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised news conference. "This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 16,169 as of today noon," he added.

Jahanpour also said 5,389 people who were infected had been discharged from hospitals "with general good health".

Tehran province recorded the highest number of new infections with 273 fresh cases. Alborz, to the west of Tehran, was next with 116, followed by East Azerbaijan with 78. "As of this morning, more than 15 million of our countrymen have been screened" for symptoms, he said.

The official reiterated calls for Iranians to stay at home during the outbreak and asked them to report possible symptoms on a ministry website. The website identifies the individual using their national identity number and asks if they have symptoms such as coughing or fever.

It also asks if anyone suspected of having the virus, under treatment or recently recovered lives with them. If the symptoms are not serious, it advises them to stay at home and tells them where the nearest healthcare centre is located.