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EghtesadOnline: Iran's death toll due to the new coronavirus rose to 34, as Beijing sent its first batch of humanitarian assistance to Tehran and encouraged the country to stay strong.

China delivered on Friday 5,000 testing kits and 250,000 facemasks to Iran to help the country battle the COVID-19 outbreak, ISNA reported.

Hua Chunying, spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, sent out a tweet to announce that China will fly in more relief supplies, and asked Iran to "Be strong … hang in there." 

According to Financial Tribune, Chinese Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua also promised that China "will do more".

Coronavirus cases in Iran surged to 388 on Friday and eight more people died, bringing the number of deaths to 34, the highest outside of China, Iran's Health Ministry said.

“In the past 24 hours, 143 new confirmed cases were detected across the country, with the average age of the infected standing at 50 years and the average age of the dead was over 60 years,” the head of the Health Ministry's Media Center, Kianoush Jahanpour, said.

Jahanpour noted that a huge part of efforts to contain the virus's spread falls on people by maintaining personal and public hygiene, limiting travels inside and outside cities, and canceling all social events.

Jahanpour added that “no place is safer than our own homes and our own cities".

The novel coronavirus has spread to almost all parts of the country, sparking global fear that Iran is turning into another hub of transmission.

According to Jahanpour, the number of infected people will continue its upward trend in the coming days. 

Iran has added to the laboratories that can test the samples of suspected patients from seven to 15 and is expected to increase the number of confirmed cases exponentially.



Containment Measures

Following a coronavirus taskforce meeting on Friday, Health Minister Saeed Namaki reported the decisions made by the committee, which has agreed to close schools across the country for three days.

Namaki said, "If people display symptoms upon arrival or exit from cities, they will be quarantined for 14 days."

The committee has decided to allow employees with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes or suppressed immune system, to work from home. Patients with chronic medical conditions face high risk of death.

According to Namaki, universities will not hold classes until the end of the week, but the shutdown does not include university personnel or professors, as they are to conduct classes online.

"All stadiums will remain closed, social events are canceled, all matches will take place without spectators and religious ceremonies are temporarily called off," the health minister said.

Namaki also said that they have authorized all medical universities to recruit volunteers, adding that armed forces can also be used to prepare hospital beds in case of emergencies, or to disinfect public spaces.

Later in the day, Asadollah Abbasi, spokesman of Majlis Presiding Board, announced that parliament has decided to cancel all its sessions until further notice due to the outbreak.


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