• Monday, May 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:57 pm

Iran defends response as virus deaths surpass 1,000

  • Published at 10:41 pm March 18th, 2020
Workers in protective suits spray disinfectants near the gate of Shalamcha Border Crossing, after Iraq shut a border crossing to travellers between Iraq and Iran on March 8, 2020 Reuters

The virus has now killed 1,135 people in Iran out of 17,361 cases of infection based on official figures

Iran said its novel coronavirus death toll surpassed 1,000 on Wednesday as President Hassan Rouhani defended the response of his administration, which has yet to impose a lockdown.

The Covid-19 outbreak in sanctions-hit Iran is one of the deadliest for any country outside China, where the disease originated.

Rouhani's government reported another 147 deaths - a record high for a single day in the month since it announced the emergence of the disease.

The virus has now killed 1,135 people in Iran out of 17,361 cases of infection based on official figures.

"Some ask why the government isn't intervening, but I think we have intervened significantly," said Rouhani.

"Great things have been done (including) measures no other country has taken," he said in televised remarks after a weekly meeting of his cabinet.

"We will get past these hard days," added Rouhani, who was flanked by ministers wearing face masks.

Official tolls given at the national level have usually lagged behind reports by local media and have sometimes been contradicted by provincial authorities.

The health ministry said 5,710 people have overcome the virus.

One person who recovered was a 103-year-old woman, state news agency IRNA reported, despite overwhelming evidence that the elderly are the most at risk.

The unnamed woman had been hospitalised in the central city of Semnan for about a week.

But she was "discharged after making a complete recovery", Semnan University of Medical Sciences head Navid Danayi was quoted as saying.

IRNA did not say how she was treated.

Officials have repeatedly called on Iranians to stay home for the country's approaching New Year holidays.

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