The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped 16,000 with more than 380,000 infections confirmed, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.
Iran has reported reported 122 new coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the toll to 1,934, as President Hassan Rohani announced that half of all government employees were staying at home in a bid to slow the outbreak.
Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV on March 24 that the total number of people diagnosed with the disease increased by 1,762 in the past 24 hours, to 24,811.
Iran is one of the countries.that has been hardest hit by the virus.
According to the state-run IRNA news agency, the dead included the mother-in-law of the son of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rohani also said on state TV on March 24 that another measure, the temporary release of prisoners, will be extended until the end of the current Iranian month of Farvardin, about April 18.
Iranian authorities on March 9 temporarily released about 70,000 prisoners because of the new coronavirus outbreak.
On March 23, Iran again rejected the United States’ offer of humanitarian assistance, with Rohani saying that Washington should lift sanctions if it wants to help Tehran fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have been running high since 2018, when President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal Tehran reached with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.