Iran reports 1,000 new coronavirus cases and politician among deaths

By Associated Press Reporters

Cases of coronavirus in Iran have increased by 1,000 in a day, with 21 more deaths – including a newly-elected member of parliament.

The country’s death toll is now 145 among 5,823 cases of Covid-19, making it the hardest-hit country in the Middle East.

Iran’s state-run Irna news agency said 55-year-old politician Fatemeh Rahabar was among the latest deaths. It is understood 23 members of the country’s parliament have tested positive for the virus.

The latest update from Iran came as the global death toll rose above 3,400, with more than 100,000 cases now reported.

(PA Graphics)

The Netherlands reported its first virus death on Friday, while Malta, Serbia, Slovakia, Peru, Togo, Colombia and Cameroon announced their first cases of the condition as it continues its spread across the world.

South Korea, the hardest-hit country outside China, reported 448 new cases to take the total to 7,041 with 48 deaths.

China, where the virus first emerged in December, reported 99 new cases on Saturday, its first daily increase of less than 100 since January 20.

The government also reported 28 new fatalities, raising the mainland death toll to 3,070.

China has 22,177 patients in treatment and has discharged 55,404. The official Xinhua News Agency said one of three temporary hospitals for virus cases in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, discharged its last patient on Saturday and is now due to close.

Cases in China appear to be dropping, but are increasing rapidly elsewhere) (Mark Schiefelbein/AP

But while the epidemic appears to be easing in China, numbers of cases elsewhere are rising rapidly.

And the World Health Organisation has warned against “false hopes” that the disease will fade when warmer summer weather arrives in northern countries.

Mimicking measures imposed in China six weeks ago, Western governments are now increasingly imposing travel controls, telling people to work from home if possible and sanitising public spaces.

Many governments have imposed restrictions on visitors from China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Serbia said it might deploy the army to keep the virus at bay, while in Switzerland the military is being readied to provide support services at hospitals after 210 new cases were reported on Friday.

Workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant in the departure terminal at the Rafik Hariri International Airport, in Beirut (Hassan Ammar/AP)

French health minister Olivier Veran said children will be banned from visiting patients in hospitals and other health facilities across the country, and patients will be limited to one adult visit at a time.

Spanish officials have announced a month-long closure of 200 centres in and around Madrid where the elderly go for daytime care and activities.

The global economy, meanwhile, faces mounting damage due to anti-virus controls that shut down much of China’s economy and are disrupting travel and trade worldwide.

Airlines, hotels, cinemas and other businesses that rely on public activity have lost billions in potential revenue.