Tehran reports 66 dead from coronavirus as WHO team heads to Iran

Reuters – Sixty-six people have died from the coronavirus in Iran and more than 1,500 have been infected, a senior official said on Monday, as a World Health Organization (WHO) team headed to Tehran.

“The definite latest numbers we have are 523 new infections and 12 new deaths so the total number of those infected is 1,501 until now and the number of deaths is 66,” Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi announced on state television.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said separately that a closure of Iran’s schools which was announced on Saturday because of the outbreak would continue through the end of this week, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran has the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, where the outbreak began.

A four-person WHO team is expected to arrive in Iran on Monday evening, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva, and will review measures to deal with the outbreak and provide technical guidance.

During a week-long visit, the team will meet health ministry representatives and visit health facilities and laboratories dealing with the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Several countries in the region have reported coronavirus infections in people who have visited Iran. These include Kuwait, whose health ministry on Monday reported 10 new cases in the last 24 hours, all of whom had been in Iran. The Gulf Arab state has now reported 56 cases of the virus.

The United Arab Emirates sent a shipment of medical supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, to Iran on Monday, state news agency WAM reported.

Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh, Alaa Swilam and Hadeel Al Sayegh; additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Editing by Timothy Heritage