(February 27, 2020 / JNS) Twenty-six people have died so far from coronavirus in Iran, reported the Iranian news agency IRNA on Thursday.
Iranian authorities have closed schools, universities and other educational centers across the country, and have restricted public gatherings such as concerts and sporting events, according to the report.
The virus’s death toll in Iran is the highest outside of China, where the current outbreak began, and is beginning to be spread from Iran to other countries in the region. Iranian officials on Wednesday said there were 139 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, but many in Iran believe the true figure is much higher.
As a result of the crisis, Iran’s rial dropped to a one-year low of 158,500 against the dollar on Wednesday as the country was forced to close most of its borders, threatening non-oil exports, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Saudi Arabia suspended until further notice travel to the holiest Islamic sites, just months before the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
There have been no reported cases of the virus in Saudi Arabia so far, according to Reuters, but the infection continues to spread to other Middle Eastern countries. Lebanon confirmed its second case on Wednesday, in a traveler returning from Iran.
Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of Qatari and Kuwaiti citizens from Iran.
Also on Wednesday, Pakistan confirmed its first two cases, also recent returnees from Iran, according to Reuters.
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