Friday prayers in Iran were canceled in all provincial capitals amid the growing coronavirus outbreak in the country, national television said. The report was released Wednesday as Tehran and other regions canceled Friday’s prayer last week regarding the epidemic.
Iran announced earlier that the new coronavirus had killed 92 people out of 2,922 confirmed cases across the Islamic Republic, the highest death toll in the world outside of China. Meanwhile, the IranWire news site reported that Iran’s first vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, had tested positive for coronavirus and was being treated. Several Iranian officials have been infected with the coronavirus and a senior government official died on Monday of a coronavirus infection. Ministry of Health spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced the new figures at a press conference in Tehran, taking the Iranian death toll from the new disease higher than that of Italy, where there has also been a serious increase in infections.
There are now more than 3,140 cases of the new virus across the Middle East. Of those outside Iran in the region, most are linked to the Islamic Republic. Experts fear Iran may underestimate the number of cases it has. “The virus has no wings to fly,” said Jahanpour. “We are the ones who pass it on.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the virus was present in almost all of Iran’s 31 provinces during a speech at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “This disease is widespread,” he said, according to a transcript. “It encompasses almost all of our provinces and is, in a sense, a global disease with which many countries around the world are infected, and we must work together to resolve this problem as soon as possible.”