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Iran Press TV

Iran virus death toll at 34 as minister vows containment surprises

Iran Press TV

Friday, 28 February 2020 10:28 AM

A Health Ministry spokesman says eight more people have died because of coronavirus infections, taking its overall toll to 34, while 73 patients have recovered.

The total number of people diagnosed with the disease is 388 after an additional 143 infections were detected over the past 24 hours, Kianoush Jahanpour said on Friday.

"The latest figures for the number of people with coronavirus infection in the country stand at 388 people, of whom 73 people have recovered in the past few days and 34 people have died," he said.

Jahnapour said the average age of those hospitalized has been cited above 50 and the average age of deaths has been quoted more than 60 years.

Another medical official said Friday the development of a drug and vaccine for treatment of the novel coronavirus is underway after the country's health minister pledges a response that will wow the world.

Alireza Jalali, the head of Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, said Friday the "scientific committees of Baqiyatallah University have been activated since last week in order to develop a definitive drug for the novel coronavirus."

"During the past week, three new projects were launched for production of vaccine and definitive drug for coronavirus. We expect the projects to yield serious results," he noted.

He said the first project is aimed at producing a genetics-based drug for the new coronavirus, Covid-19. The Health Ministry and the research department of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) are working on the project, which is expected to yield results in three to six months.

The second project, development of a vaccine, will successfully finish in three to five months, and the third project will focus on development of a herbal medicine for Covid-19 patients, he added.

Jahanpour also announced that coronavirus testing kits developed by Iranian experts at the Defense Ministry will receive final approvals in coming days, and will be mass-produced and supplied to laboratories across the country.

Earlier, Health Minister Saeid Namaki pledged that Iran would surprise the world with its containment of the coronavirus that has claimed more than two dozen lives since its breakout int he country last week.

Namaki made the remarks in a letter to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Thursday.

China's aid arrives in Iran

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying on Friday tweeted that the first batch of his country's aid for Iran has arrived in the country, vowing that more will follow in the future.

"Sad to hear bad news in #Iran. 1st batch of Chinese assistance already arrived and more sure to follow. We are with you, Iran! Be strong, Iran! Hang in there, Iran! #COVID19"

The disease has infected several high-ranking officials, including four lawmakers, the country's vice-president for women affairs, and a deputy health minister.

The government has adopted contingency measures to deal with the surge in the number of infections, including closure of schools and universities in several provinces.

For the first time in decades, Friday prayers have been cancelled in 23 provincial capitals out of 31, while authorities have imposed tighter restrictions on arrivals of foreign nationals, especially those from China.

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