On March 13, Iran announced 85 new coronavirus deaths. This is the highest single-day death toll for one of the worst coronavirus affected countries in the world. The latest deaths take the overall toll in Iran to 514. Iran has reported 11,364 cases, out of which 3,529 have already recovered.
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour during a televised news conference announced the deaths. As per reports, he also added that 1,289 were added to the list of confirmed patients. The coronavirus outbreak in Iran is one of the deadliest in the world outside of mainland China.
Several politicians and officials, both sitting and former have been infected. Some have even died of the illness. According to reports, the latest suspected case of infection was Ali Akbar Velayati, who advised Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on foreign policy. Velayati fell ill with what was termed as a mild illness and has thus been placed under quarantine.
With coronavirus hitting the high-ranking levels of the Iranian government, it was reported that Iran's senior vice president and two other cabinet members contracted the virus. Iran's Minister of Culture Heritage, handicrafts and tourism and Minister of industry, mines, and business were among the senior officials who exuded the symptoms. Iran said on Thursday that it had asked for an emergency $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help fight the spread of a new virus that's swept across the country, infecting more than 10,000 people and killing hundreds.
The gravity of the situation in Iran came to light after it was reported on Saturday that the coronavirus burial pits in the country are apparently so vast that they were visible from space. At the Behesht-e Masoumeh complex in Qom, situated about 130km south of Tehran, the excavation of a new section of the graveyard started as early as February 21, and it rapidly expanded as the virus spread. By the end of the month, two vast trenches measuring about 100m in length were visible at the site from space.
(With agency inputs)