Coronavirus kills top Iranian cleric as death toll jumps to 853

Coronavirus kills top Iranian cleric as death toll jumps to 853

PanARMENIAN.Net - COVID-19 has killed a member of the clerical body that appoints the supreme leader, according to Iranian state media, the latest official in the country to die of the highly infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus, Al Jazeera reports.

Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, 78, died two days after testing positive for the new coronavirus and being hospitalised, state news agency IRNA reported on Monday. Golpayegani represented Tehran in the assembly of experts, an 88-strong body of Muslim scholars that appoints and monitors Iran's supreme leader. At least 12 Iranian politicians and officials, both sitting and former, have now died of the illness, and 13 more have been infected and are either in quarantine or being treated.

The country has been scrambling to contain the rapid spread of coronavirus which so far has infected some 14,000 people and killed 853 - 129 of whom over the past 24 hours, according to official figures․

Iran is believed to have about 110,000 hospital beds, including 30,000 in the capital, Tehran. Authorities have pledged to set up mobile clinics as needed. Health ministry figures show while 55 percent of fatalities were in their 60s, some 15 percent were younger than 40.

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