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The Iranian health ministry on Thursday announced that 26 people have died due to coronavirus in the country, with a vice president becoming the latest top official to be infected.

Health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour, confirmed in a  conference that the tally of infections had risen to 245 with 106 more cases confirmed.

Outside China, Iran has the highest death toll from the virus

The Islamic republic has the highest death toll from the virus outside China, where COVID-19 first emerged.

One of Iran’s seven vice presidents, Massoumeh Ebtekar, who oversees women’s affairs, has also contracted the life threatening virus. Ebtekar is being treated at home and members of her team have been tested, state news agency IRNA reported.

Last week the Iranian government also announced that its head of parliament’s national security and foreign affairs committee, Mojtaba Zolnour, also contracted the virus, appearing in a video posted by Fars news agency saying he was in self-quarantine.

Iranian authorities have also restricted domestic travel for people with confirmed or suspected infections. Authorities have also placed restrained access to major Shiite pilgrimage sites.

Visitors to the shrines will be allowed to visit on condition they are provided “with hand-washing liquids, proper (health) information, masks”, Health Minister Saeed Namaki said.

Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected about 83,000 worldwide. In China, the death toll rose to 2,788.

Coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), as the outbreak continued to spread outside China. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province remains the most affected place by the virus.

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