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Iran announces 63 new virus deaths, taking total to 354

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Tehran (AFP)

Iran on Wednesday reported 63 new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day toll since it announced the first deaths from the outbreak.

"Based on new lab results, we have identified 958 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 9,000," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised news conference.

"Unfortunately in the past 24 hours, we have had reports of 63 deaths and overall 354 have lost their lives" to the virus, he added.

The outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran is one of the deadliest outside China, where the disease originated.

The capital Tehran had the most new infections with 256 cases.

The central province of Isfahan followed with 170, and Semnan, to the east of Tehran, had 63.

Bushehr as well as Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad in the southwest had no new cases.

Iran is yet to officially impose quarantines but authorities have repeatedly called on people to refrain from travelling.

They have closed schools and universities and resorted to shutting hotels and other tourist accommodation to discourage travel.

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