Iran says 34 dead, 388 infected with coronavirus

Reuters

Posted at Feb 28 2020 09:46 PM

Iranian women wear protective masks to prevent contracting coronavirus, as they walk in the street in Tehran, Iran February 25, 2020. West Asia News Agency, Nazanin Tabatabaee via Reuters

DUBAI - Thirty-four people have died from coronavirus in Iran and 388 are infected by the virus, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced on state television on Friday.

The vast majority of infections were in three provinces: Tehran, 128, Qom, 88, and Gilan, 65, according to a map published by the official IRNA news agency citing health ministry figures.

Iran canceled Friday prayers in the capitals of 23 of Iran's 31 provinces because of the coronavirus outbreak, state television reported on Thursday.

Tehran, the national capital, and the Shi’ite Muslim holy cities of Qom and Mashhad were among places where authorities called off Friday prayers.

Those infected in Iran include Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi and Masoumeh Ebtekar, vice president for women and family affairs.

The Islamic Republic is the only country in the Gulf region that has reported deaths from the coronavirus, which has spread from China, but people have been infected in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Three new cases reported on Friday in Bahrain took the total diagnosed with the coronavirus there to 36, and two new cases reported by Kuwait took the total infected there to 45.

All those infected in Bahrain and Kuwait had travelled to Iran or were contaminated by people who went there, according to officials in the two Gulf Arab states.

The United Arab Emirates has granted Iran permission to send a handful of flights to Dubai to fly Iranians home, the ISNA news agency reported, citing information from Iran's consulate in Dubai.

Saudi Arabia has reported no deaths or infections and has tightened travel restrictions to try to prevent it from spreading across its borders.

The United States asked its military in Saudi Arabia to avoid crowded venues, including malls and cinemas, as coronavirus was reported spreading in neighboring countries, according to a document from the US embassy seen by Reuters on Friday.

Oman on Friday restricted the entry of citizens from other Gulf Arab states who had previously been able to enter by showing national identification cards.