Nineteen people have died and 139 people have been infected by coronavirus in Iran, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on Wednesday in an announcement on state TV.
Iran has had the highest number of deaths from coronavirus outside China, where the virus emerged in late 2019.
Iranian officials announced the first deaths and infections from coronavirus in the Islamic Republic last week, and the spike in numbers in a short period of time has led Iranians to criticize authorities online and accuse them of a cover-up, a charge officials have denied.
Several of Iran’s neighbours have closed their borders and banned flights from Iran due to fears over the virus, which could hurt the Islamic Republic’s already fragile economy.
Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan have all reported cases of coronavirus involving people who traveled to Iran.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that coronavirus must not become an enemy weapon that prevents business in Iran, according to the official presidency website.
Read the full article by Babak Dehghanpisheh and Hugh Lawson on Reuters, February 26, 2020