Iran sees surge in coronavirus deaths, including top commander

Tehran, Mar 14 (efe-epa).- Iran has the third-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world with a spike on Saturday that put the country’s death toll at more than 600.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Iran rose to 12,729 with 611 fatalities, including senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Nasser Shabani.

In the last 24 hours there were 1,365 fresh cases and 97 deaths, the highest number recorded since the outbreak began three weeks ago, according to the country’s health ministry.

Iran’s armed forces announced that they will apply new measures in a bid to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri said Friday that the military wanted to clear the country’s shops and streets of people to help contain the outbreak but did not give any more details on how this would be achieved.

He added that authorities will monitor the health of all citizens to detect possible cases within a period of one week to 10 days and that this check-up will be carried out online, by telephone and “if necessary, in person”.

Health minister Saeed Namaki said they had already checked more than 6.5 million homes and the detected cases were either sent to medical centres or quarantined in their homes, Iranian news agency Tasnim reported.

Alireza Biglari, director of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, a research centre for infectious and contagious diseases, said Saturday that 6,000 daily coronavirus tests were being carried out in the country.

The tests, which will increase to 10,000 a day in one or two weeks, were being analysed in 50 laboratories, he was quoted as saying by the official IRNA agency.

Biglari said Iran has more than 220,000 diagnostic kits and around 80,000 had been used so far.

Iranian authorities closed schools and universities, as well as other training centres, three weeks ago and suspended all sporting, cultural and religious events.

Several public figures, parliamentary deputies and national leaders have been infected with Covid-19 in Iran.

Shabani, who had various responsibilities with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards over the past 37 years, died on Friday after contracting the virus.

More than 3,500 patients have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals in the country. EFE-EPA


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