Iran reports 54 new coronavirus deaths, highest one-day toll

Mourners wearing face masks and gloves perform funeral prayer for the person who died on Monday after being infected with the new coronavirus in Tehran on March 10, 2020. (Tasnim News Agency via AP)
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Updated 10 March 2020

Iran reports 54 new coronavirus deaths, highest one-day toll

  • Death toll from coronavirus in Iran has risen to 291
  • Iran’s fatalities include several politicians and government officials

TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported 54 new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day toll since the start of the country’s outbreak.
The latest deaths bring the number of those killed by the virus in the Islamic republic to 291, the health ministry’s spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised conference.
He added that 881 new cases had been confirmed, bringing the total number of people infected to an official 8,042.
But “2,731 people, which is about 10 times the number of dear countrymen we’ve lost, have recovered and been discharged from hospitals,” Jahanpour said.
The outbreak of the virus in Iran is one of the deadliest outside China, where the disease originated.
With 2,114 cases, the capital Tehran remains the worst-hit province.
The northern province of Mazandaran climbed to second place with 253 new cases, bringing the total there to 886, followed by 751 in Qom, the Shiite pilgrimage city south of Tehran where the country’s first cases were reported.
Mazandaran is a popular tourist spot bordering the Caspian Sea, and is particularly popular during holidays for the Iranian New Year, which this year starts on March 20.
Iran is yet to officially impose quarantines but authorities have repeatedly called on people to refrain from traveling and have resorted to closing hotels and other accommodation to discourage travel.
“As we said and expected in recent days, Mazandaran has almost reached the top of the chart” in terms of infections and is second only to Tehran, Jahanpour said.
“Our warnings against traveling to Mazandaran may be more understandable today,” he added.
Iran’s fatalities include several politicians and government officials, as well as some hospital staff.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed on Tuesday to designate hospital staff who died after contracting the virus as “martyrs,” following a suggestion by the health minister, according to the official IRNA news agency.
In the Islamic republic, the families of those designated martyrs usually receive financial aid and other benefits from the state.
The supreme leader also canceled his annual speech in Mashhad city to mark the Persian new year due to concerns about the virus outbreak and health authorities’ calls “to avoid gatherings and travel.”
According to health ministry figures, 222 people have been infected by the virus in the Khorasan Razavi province, where Mashhad is located.
Apart from direct fatalities, 44 people have died from methanol poisoning in Iran after rumors that drinking alcohol could help cure or protect from the disease.


Russia announces coronavirus deaths exceed 10,000

Updated 5 min 55 sec ago

Russia announces coronavirus deaths exceed 10,000

  • Russia has confirmed 674,515 cases, the third largest total in the world, although the daily infection rate has been falling over the last month
MOSCOW: Russia on Saturday said that it recorded more than 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, a toll that is still far lower than in other countries with major outbreaks.
The number of deaths has now reached 10,027, the government information website said, up by 168 from Friday.
Russia has confirmed 674,515 cases, the third largest total in the world, although the daily infection rate has been falling over the last month.
The country’s death toll is much lower than in other countries with large outbreaks, raising questions over possible underreporting of deaths.
Russia has acknowledged that the death figure on the government website only includes cases where the virus was classed as the main cause of death on the death certificate.
The official statistics agency has released national death data for April alone, where the toll — of 2,712 — is more than double the government’s total of 1,152 for that month.
That is because it uses a broader definition on the basis of World Health Organization recommendations and includes cases where the victim tested positive but the virus was not classified as the main cause of death, or where there was no positive test but an autopsy ruled the virus was the main cause of death.
Moscow city health department also released data on deaths in May using this method of classification, showing 5,260 virus-related deaths that month.
By contrast, the government website still says that some 3,929 people in total have died so far from the virus just in Moscow.