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Iran taking delivery of N95 mask shipments amid fight against coronavirus

Iranian authorities say they are taking delivery of two large shipments of respirator masks, otherwise known as N95 masks, amid a nationwide campaign to fight the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

A deputy trade minister said on Thursday that the two cargoes will arrive in southern ports of Iran later in the day to help health authorities respond to increasing demands for the N95 masks in hospitals and clinics. 

Hossein Modarres Khiabani said the shipments were four times the size of a previous batch of medical gear and masks that arrived in Iran earlier this week and included three million N95 masks. 

Respirator masks are not specifically approved for medical purposes but they have become an effective tool for preventing the spread of coronavirus. 

Health care providers who are in direct contact with coronavirus patients across Iran have faced a shortage of gear in recent weeks. 

Modarres Khiabani said that domestic manufacturers had also increased their output of 3-layer masks, known as surgical masks, and respirators to help respond to the growing demand in the country.

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He said output for masks inside Iran had almost tripled to reach 900,000 per day, without offering a breakdown on figures related to N95 masks. 

Health authorities said on Thursday that death toll from the spread of the new coronavirus in Iran had reached 1,248, including 149 people who died over the past 24 hours. 

A total of 18,407 people have tested positive for coronavirus since it was spotted in Iran on February 19. Some 5,979 patients have recovered from the illness.

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