Iran’s parliament speaker tests positive for coronavirus

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf says he will continue to carry out his duties from self-quarantine.

Elad Benari ,

Coronavirus Iran
Coronavirus Iran

Iran’s parliament speaker said on Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, joining a growing list of infected Iranian officials, reports The Associated Press.

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf tweeted that he received the news after one of his colleagues tested positive for the virus. He said he would continue to carry out his duties from self-quarantine.

Earlier this month, he was on state TV visiting a coronavirus ward in one of capital's overwhelmed hospitals to show support.

“I decided to appear in the hospital to see problems from a close distance,” Ghalibaf told local media from the ward in Tehran at the time. “Supervising is the main duty of parliament.”

Iran has for months wrestled with the worst outbreak in the Middle East, and on Wednesday the daily death toll hit a new high for a second consecutive day.

Wednesday's count pushes Iran's total death toll past 33,700, the highest in the region, according to AP.

Public health officials have repeatedly stressed that the true number of deaths is likely 2.5 times higher.

In a clear sign of the scale of the outbreak, dozens of top officials have fallen ill. At least 30 lawmakers have tested positive in recent months and some have died.

Iran’s former parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, tested positive for the virus in April and returned to work after convalescing for three weeks. Ghalibaf took over his post in early June.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, contracted the coronavirus this past week.

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.