IranMiddle East

Iran steps up efforts to contain COVID-19 as 1,234 new cases confirmed

Iran has imposed further travel restrictions for its citizens as part of efforts to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, as the Health Ministry confirms over 1,200 new cases of infection in 24 hours.

Health Ministry spokesman,Kianoush Jahanpour on Friday confirmed 1,234 new cases of infection, including 17 deaths.

The record-breaking increase in number of new infections raises the total number of confirmed cases to 4,744 and the overall death toll to 124, Jahanpour said.

So far, 913 have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospital, he added.

The spokesman said over 15,981 suspected cases have so far been hospitalized across the country.

Tehran holds the highest number of infections, with 1,413 cases – almost one-third of all infections.

In his daily briefing, Jahanpour strongly criticized those who were still travelling to the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran despite all the warnings against such trips.

Earlier in the day, the police blocked all major roads leading to the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran in a move to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Several other cities and provinces, including Bushehr, Fars, and Kordestan, have imposed similar restrictions against tourists from other cities, with authorities saying only locals can get in or out.

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All schools and universities in Iran have been shut down until the end of the current Iranian calendar year (mid-March), and some employees have been advised to work from home in order to contain the spread of the disease.

The virus has so far infected several Iranian officials, and killed a few of them, including Hossein Sheikholeslam, a former Iranian ambassador to Syria and adviser to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who died of the virus at the age of 67 on Thursday.

The epidemic, which has so far affected 93 countries and territories, wreaked havoc on international business, tourism, sports events and schools, with almost 300 million students sent home worldwide.

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