Iran reports COVID-19 death every three minutes, speaker tests positive

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Iran reports highest daily coronavirus infections since Feb
Iran reports highest daily coronavirus infections since Feb

DUBAI (Reuters) - One person is dying from COVID-19 every three minutes in Iran, state television said on Wednesday, as the health ministry reported a record daily toll of 415 fatalities.

Parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf tweeted that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest among dozens of officials to be infected.

Non-essential businesses have been shut in Tehran and dozens of other cities as cases rise again in the Middle East's worst-hit country.

Schools, theatres and museums have been shut and social, cultural and religious events cancelled for at least a week.

Iranian authorities have blamed the sharp increase on people failing to follow restrictions.

Total fatalities from the disease have reached 33,714, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV.

The number of confirmed cases rose by 6,824 in the past 24 hours to 558,648, she added.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls. A report by the Iranian parliament’s research centre in April suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Heavens)