Iran's coronavirus death toll reaches 2,640
"In the past 24 hours we had 123 deaths and 2,901 people have been infected, bringing the total number of infected people to 38,309," Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to the health
minister, said in a tweet. "12,391 people infected from the virus have recovered."
Health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV that 3,467 of those infected were in "critical condition".
"I am happy to announce that also 12,391 people who had been infected across the country have recovered," Jahanpur said. "The average age of those who have died of the disease is 69."
President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranians to adapt to their new way of life, which was likely to continue for some time.
Coronavirus in the Middle East: Lock down or play down?
Countries such as Kuwait and Israel have instituted virtual lockdowns in the face of COVID-19, while religious gatherings have been limited at a time of year ripe with ritual. Others have been slower to act. By Tom Allinson
Iran bearing the brunt: with a high number of deaths and cases, Iran has been a regional epicentre of the outbreak. Several top officials have been infected and there are concerns the number of cases are higher than reported. The government has cancelled Friday prayers but health workers have complained they are under-equipped. Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund for emergency funding
Strict measures in Saudi Arabia: Saudi authorities banned international religious pilgrims early on, leaving the Grand Mosque's Kaaba in Mecca virtually empty. Other measures have involved sanitizing streets and mosques, closing schools and universities, an extensive travel ban and fines of up to 500,000 riyals (€120,000/$133,000) for people hiding health details. It has also locked down the Shia-minority area of Qatif
Egypt restricts travel: in Cairo, hundreds of Egyptians tried to get certificates showing they have a clean bill of health after Saudi Arabia announced new travel regulations. Although Egypt has only detected a low number of cases, more than 100 tourists returning from the country tested positive for the virus. Officials have limited sermons to 15 minutes and cancelled large public gatherings
Israel and West Bank cut off from the world: gatherings of less than 100 are still allowed, leaving visits to the Wailing Wall open. But Israeli authorities have virtually halted air traffic in and out of its territory and tourists are required to self-quarantine. The city of Bethlehem has declared a state of emergency, emptying streets usually teeming ahead of Easter. Israeli researchers have said they are close to finding a COVID-19 cure
Virtual lockdown in Kuwait: as Kuwaitis kept their distance at this makeshift testing centre, the country entered a virtual lockdown, with the entire workforce given a two-week holiday from March 12. All commercial flights have been suspended from Friday on, schools have been closed and gatherings at restaurants, malls and commercial centres have been banned
In Iraq coronavirus fails to dampen protests: Iraq's protest movement has set up its own makeshift disinfection stations to counter the spread of COVID-19. Although Iraq is highly prone to the outbreak due to its proximity and close relations with Iran, protesters have been defiant, saying the government is the virus. Elsewhere authorities have closed major public spaces and religious institutions have cancelled gatherings
"We must prepare to live with the virus until a treatment is discovered ... The new measures that have been imposed are for everyone's benefit ... Our main priority is the safety and the health of our people," Rouhani said during a televised meeting.
The government has banned intercity travel after warning of a potential surge in coronavirus cases because many Iranians defied calls to cancel travel plans for the Persian New Year holidays that began on 20 March.
The authorities told Iranians to stay at home, while schools, universities, cultural, religious and sports centres have been temporarily closed.
Iranian authorities say U.S. sanctions are hampering their efforts to curb the outbreak and have urged other countries and the United Nations to call for the measures to be lifted. Washington has rejected lifting the sanctions.
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
"U.S. has gone from sabotage & assassinations to waging an economic war & #EconomicTerrorism on Iranians - to #MedicalTerror amidst #covid19iran. This even exceeds what would be permissible
on the battlefield," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Sunday.
"STOP aiding WAR CRIMES. STOP obeying IMMORAL & ILLEGAL U.S. sanctions."
The United States imposed fresh sanctions on Iran on Thursday. Tehran has rejected a U.S. offer to help Iran cope with the pandemic. (Reuters)