Iran Parliament reconvenes even as coronavirus infects its ranks

Bloomberg – Iran’s parliament reconvened on Tuesday for the first time since it shut down Feb. 25 over the new coronavirus, even as tests showed infection spreading through its ranks.

More than two-thirds of the Majlis’s 290 lawmakers met in the absence of speaker Ali Larijani, who tested positive for the virus last week, the Tasnim news agency reported. Tests conducted on 270 legislators this week showed at least 11 additional cases of infection, the Iranian Students’ News Agency said, citing a member of parliament’s presiding board, Akbar Ranjbarzadeh.

The health minister briefed lawmakers on efforts to contain the disease, Tasnim said. ISNA reported that the Majlis was advised by the national coronavirus task force to meet, and that the government blocked proposed legislation to totally lock down the country.

With 3,872 deaths from 62,589 known cases, Iran remains the epicenter of coronavirus in the Middle East. Two of the dead were members of parliament.