Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran,02,23,2020: Iran decided on the week to close schools and universities in 14 provinces, including Tehran.

The novel coronavirus has claimed three more lives in Iran, state media reported, taking the country’s overall death toll from the outbreak to 15 — the highest outside China.

Iran has been scrambling to contain COVID-19 since Wednesday when it announced its first two deaths in Qom, a centre for Islamic studies and pilgrims that attracts scholars from abroad.

Two of the dead were elderly women in the central province of Markazi and the other was a patient in the northern province of Alborz, state news agency IRNA said.

“One was an 87-year-old woman with a history of cardiovascular, pulmonary, liver and kidney diseases who passed away after being hospitalised for two days,” Abbas Nikravesh, head of Saveh city’s medical university, told IRNA.

The other was an 82-year-old with “serious blood and cardiovascular diseases” and died after being hospitalised for a day, he added, noting that she had a history of visiting Qom as her children live there.

“Three cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Saveh city so far, with two dead,” Nikravesh said.

“There is now one infected 78-year-old woman from Afghanistan under special care.”

IRNA did not name the patient in Alborz or detail any underlying health conditions.

“This patient was under special care in recent days when he passed away,” Hassan Inanlou, deputy head of Alborz’s medical university, was quoted as saying.

According to IRNA, there are two more confirmed cases hospitalised in Alborz.

Iran has confirmed 61 cases of coronavirus infection so far.


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