PARIS/TEHRAN (AFP) – The number of people who have died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic now exceeds 10,000 as Iran said virus has killed 149 more people in the Islamic republic, raising the country s official death toll from the disease to 1,433.
According to an AFP tally based on official data at 1030 GMT Friday, in total, 10,080 deaths have been reported, most of them in Europe (4,932) and Asia (3,431). Italy is the worst affected country with 3,405 fatalities, followed by China with 3,248, the initial epicentre of the outbreak, and Iran with 1,433.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said 1,237 more cases have been confirmed over the past 24 hours and 19,644 people are now known to have been infected in Iran, one of the world s worst-hit countries.
Earlier today, Iran s supreme leader and president promised that the country would overcome one of the world s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks just as it had faced down sweeping US sanctions.
In messages marking the Persian New Year holiday Nowruz, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani both acknowledged that the past year had been difficult.
Khamenei paid tribute to the sacrifices of the country s doctors and nurses in tackling the coronavirus, which has infected 18,407 people in Iran and killed 1,284, according to an official tally.
He prayed that the coming 12 months would see “great victories” after a “turbulent” year that saw open hostilities between Tehran and its archfoe Washington.
Khamenei insisted that the economy had begun to improve, despite the reimposition of US sanctions since 2018 when President Donald Trump quit a landmark nuclear agreement between major powers and Iran.
But he acknowledged that it had not affected the lives of ordinary Iranians.
In November, fuel price increases imposed by the government triggered nationwide protests that were violently suppressed with the loss of at least 300 lives, according to Amnesty International.
In his message to Iranians, broadcast shortly after the supreme leader s, Rouhani trumpeted Iran s success in withstanding US sanctions on the country s vital oil sector.
“Faced with the most severe sanctions in history imposed by the international terrorists on the oil industry… our people have written a heroic new page by keeping the wheels of the economy turning without oil,” he said. “We have not been defeated… We have emerged victorious from this test. “Soon we will overcome the COVID-19 outbreak too,” the president pledged.