In Iran, every 10 minutes one person dies from coronavirus
The death toll in the Islamic republic has now climbed to 1,284. Authorities have urged people to stay home and avoid travelling during the Nowruz new year holidays that begin on Friday.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe, the situation in Iran – the worst affected country in the Middle East -- is worsening. According to the country’s Health Ministry, the new virus is killing one person every 10 minutes in Iran. The death toll in the Islamic republic has now climbed to 1,284.
"Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran," Health Ministry’s spokesman Kianush Jahanpur tweeted.
The total number of infections rose to 18,407 in Iran on Thursday. The spread of the virus has dampened Iran's celebrations for the Nowruz new year that begins on Friday. Authorities have urged people to stay home and avoid travelling during the new year holidays to help contain coronavirus contagion.
"Nowruz trips are like welcoming death” is how state radio station opened its news bulletins this morning as images of large traffic jams on Iranian roads flooded social media. The government has ordered the closure of schools and universities and banned sports, cultural and religious gatherings.
Nuclear energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state TV on Thursday that Iran would not mark its annual day celebrating its nuclear programme because of the coronavirus outbreak. Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi has urged the public to avoid travel and crowds, telling Iranians the days ahead represented two “golden weeks” to try curb the virus.
He also slammed people for not adhering to the warnings to stay home. “This is not a good situation at all,” he said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has defended his government’s response to the pandemic in the face of criticism that it acted too casually and might even have covered up initial cases. He told his Cabinet that the government was being “straightforward” as it announced the outbreak as soon as it learned about it on February 19.