Iran reports 129 new virus deaths, taking total to 853
Tehran, Mar 16 : Iran said on Monday that the novel coronavirus had killed 129 more people, a new record high for a single day in one of the world's worst-hit countries.
"Our plea is that everyone take this virus seriously and in no way attempt to travel to any province," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised news conference.
The latest deaths bring the overall toll to 853 fatalities since February 19, when the government announced Iran's first two deaths from the COVID-19 disease.
Jahanpour also reported 1,053 confirmed new cases of infection in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 14,991.
Tehran province had the highest number of new infections with 200 cases, about 50 fewer than the day before.
The central province of Isfahan followed with 118 cases, with Mazandaran in the north of Iran coming next with 96.
Khorasan Razavi province, home to the holy Shiite city of Mashhad, was not among the reported provinces with fresh cases. It had recorded 143 the day before.
"If we judge cautiously, it seems that the overall efforts by the people and interventions by the health system... are slowly showing their effects in Qom and Gilan," Jahanpour said.
The holy city of Qom in central Iran, where the virus was first reported, had 19 new cases that took the total to 1,023.
And confirmed infections in Gilan reached 858, with 18 new ones. The northern region is a popular tourist spot and among the worst-hit of Iran's 31 provinces.