Iran coronavirus death toll tops 9,500

Nurses work in a COVID-19 ward in Tehran. (AP)
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Updated 20 June 2020

Iran coronavirus death toll tops 9,500

  • The virus has claimed 115 Iranian lives in the last 24 hours
  • Iran has experienced the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East

TEHRAN: Iranian health authorities Saturday announced more than 100 new deaths from coronavirus and another 2,000 cases of the illness, as the country’s fight against the pandemic entered its fifth month.
Iran reported its first coronavirus cases on February 19, and it has since struggled to contain the outbreak, the worst in the Middle East.
The Islamic republic’s official figures have shown an upward trajectory in new cases of infection since early May.
Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said there were 115 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 9,507.
There were also 2,322 new cases of infection, with the total number of confirmed cases now at 202,584, she added.
There has been skepticism at home and abroad about Iran’s official figures, with concerns the real toll could be much higher.
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday warned that stress created by the disease could leave people “depressed.”
He called on experts and artists to prepare Iranians mentally “to fight the virus for a long time.”
“Without perseverance and continuity, we risk losing all our gains,” he said during a meeting of a taskforce set up to fight the pandemic.
Rouhani also confirmed his government’s decision to allow provinces to make their own decisions on restrictive measures, implemented with “the president’s approval.”
Seven of Iran’s 31 provinces — Khuzestan, Khorasan Razavi, Kermanshah, West and East Azerbaijan, Golestan and Kurdistan — are currently “red,” the highest level on its color-coded risk scale, Lari said.


Gaza residents donate blood for Beirut victims

Updated 7 min 55 sec ago

Gaza residents donate blood for Beirut victims

  • Dozens took part in a blood drive in the city of Khan Younis on Wednesday
  • “I donated my blood in a moment of loyalty to the Lebanese people,” said Khan Younis resident Abu Diab Ouida

GAZA: Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are participating in a blood donation drive to try and help victims of the explosion in Beirut that has wounded thousands.
Dozens took part in a blood drive in the city of Khan Younis on Wednesday, which was sponsored by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. Organizers said they will coordinate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to try to get the blood donations delivered to Lebanon.
“I donated my blood in a moment of loyalty to the Lebanese people,” said Khan Younis resident Abu Diab Ouida.
The Gaza Strip has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 2007, after the Islamist militant group Hamas took power from Palestinian rivals in an armed coup. It remains unclear whether the donated blood will be able to reach Lebanon.