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)
Short Url
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.


Philippines probes deadly police shooting of soldiers

Updated 02 July 2020

Philippines probes deadly police shooting of soldiers

  • Plainclothes soldiers were in pursuit of ‘bomb makers and suicide bombers’ from the Abu Sayyaf militant group

MANILA: Philippine authorities are investigating the deaths of four soldiers shot by police in the country’s restive south, with the defense minister vowing Thursday to “get to the bottom” of the incident.
The plainclothes soldiers were in pursuit of “bomb makers and suicide bombers” from the Abu Sayyaf militant group when they were attacked by police in the Muslim-majority province of Sulu on Monday, the army has said.
Army chief Gilbert Gapay has accused the nine officers involved of murdering the men, while Philippine National Police has described the shooting as a “misencounter.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the shootings were “a very unfortunate incident,” adding that the dead soldiers “were just doing their jobs.”
“We don’t want this to escalate. We will get to the bottom of this,” he said.
The country’s National Bureau of Investigation was probing the incident, and Lorenzana said the findings should be released soon.
The army has accused the police of firing on the soldiers even after they identified themselves as members of the military.
The officers have been detained while the investigation is under way, said Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano.
President Rodrigo Duterte will visit police and military commanders in the south, his spokesman Harry Roque said, without specifying when.
Abu Sayyaf is based in the south and has engaged in bombings as well as kidnappings of Western tourists and missionaries for ransom since the early 1990s.
They also have ties to Daesh militants seeking to set up a caliphate in Southeast Asia.