Iran reports 11 new coronavirus deaths, total count reaches 77 (Photo Credit: Reuters )
Iran announced on Tuesday reported 11 new deaths in coronavirus in the past day, bringing the Islamic republic's overall death toll to 77. In all, 2,336 people have been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak began, including 835 new cases, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said, in remarks aired live on state television.
Earlier in the day, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the Islamic Republic's armed forces to assist its Health Ministry in combating the spread of the new coronavirus.
The decision by the Supreme Leader comes as Iran has the highest death toll from the new virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes outside of China, the epicenter of the virus. Khamenei's decision was announced after state media broadcast images of him planting a tree wearing disposable gloves ahead of Iran's upcoming arbor day.
“Whatever helps public health and prevents the spread of the disease is good and what helps to spread it is sin,” Khamenei said.
After downplaying the coronavirus as recently as last week, Iranian authorities now say they have plans to potentially mobilize 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to confront the virus.
(With agency inputs)