Iran coronavirus death toll rises by 15 to 92

Tehran (AFP) –


Iran on Wednesday reported 15 new deaths from the novel coronavirus and 586 additional cases, bringing the overall toll to 92 dead and 2,922 infected.

"The number of confirmed new cases in the past 24 hours is 586," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference.

"Fifteen (people) have unfortunately lost their lives."

The provinces of Tehran and Qom were the worst-hit with 253 and 101 new cases of COVID-19 respectively, according to the spokesman.

The Shiite holy city of Qom, south of Tehran, is the epicentre of Iran's coronavirus outbreak and where its first deaths were reported on February 19.

Authorities have since been scrambling to halt its rapid spread.

Schools have been shut, major cultural and sporting events suspended, and work hours cut back.

But the novel coronavirus is now present in all but one of Iran's 31 provinces, according to the latest figures.

The virus has even infected a number of high-profile officials in the country.

The national emergency services chief Pirhossein Kolivand was the latest such infection announced on Tuesday.

It came a day after the virus claimed the life of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council which advises Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It also comes a week after the country's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, fell ill with COVID-19.