Wash your hands, Iran’s Khamenei says, as coronavirus toll rises


FILE PHOTO: Members of a medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize outdoor place of Imam Reza’s holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran February 27, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Aytollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Iranians should follow the recommendations of authorities to prevent the spread of coronavirus, as the deputy health minister reported more infections and a higher death toll of 77.

Iran has had the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, where the virus originated.

Khamenei said on state TV that government bodies should give full support to the health ministry and that authorities have dealt transparently with the virus’s spread.

“Don’t violate the recommendations and instructions of the responsible authorities in terms of prevention, in terms of keeping hands, face and living environment clean and not infecting these and preventing the infection of these,” he said.

Separately, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said 2,336 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Iran.

“Based on the latest statistics that have been compiled there have been an additional 835 definite new infections. Unfortunately we have 11 new deaths,” he told state TV.

“With these numbers the definite number of new infections is 2,336 and the definite number of deaths has reached 77.”

The announcement of dozens of deaths and hundreds of infections from coronavirus in a short period of time have led to accusations online of an official cover up.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Catherine Evans

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