Iran announces 117 new deaths from coronavirus

The death toll in Iran from COVID-19 stands at 4,474. A total of 71,686 cases of the virus have been recorded.

Elad Benari ,


Iran on Sunday announced 117 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the overall official toll to 4,474, AFP reported.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour also told a news conference that 1,657 new infections had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 71,686.

Iran has carried out 263,388 tests for the virus so far, he added.

Of those confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 and admitted to hospitals, 43,894 have recovered and been discharged, while 3,930 are in critical condition.

Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19 and since then has become the worst-hit country in the Middle East.

At least 31 members of the Iranian parliament have contracted the virus, including its speaker Ali Larijani, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

High-profile deaths in Iran from the coronavirus include a member of the council advising the Ayatollah, a former ambassador, a newly-elected member of parliament, an adviser to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and a re-elected member of parliament.

A top adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was also reported to have been infected with the virus.

The new tolls come as Iran has started a gradual reopening of its sanctions-hit economy.

On Saturday, it allowed small businesses to reopen outside the capital and this will be extended to the capital Tehran on April 18.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani also announced in a cabinet meeting that an intercity travel ban in place since last month would be lifted on April 20.

At the same time, he repeated calls on Iranians to limit movements outside to "necessary" tasks and remain vigilant, as it remains difficult to "comment on the future" of Iran's battle with the virus.