Authorities such as firefighters in city of Tabriz, East Azerbaijan of Iran are disinfecting streets and public places, including the Bazaar of Tabriz, on a daily basis to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. As the new coronavirus spreads across Iran, the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, so a feeling of anxiety grows among many Iranians, some of whom worry the clerical establishment has not got a firm grip on the illness. The head of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, Mike Ryan, said on Feb. 27 that Iran may be dealing with an outbreak that is worse than yet understood. Authorities announced Iran’s first infections and two deaths from the virus on Feb. 19.
The country's official death toll on Thursday rose by 15 to 107, and the number of confirmed cases increased by 591 to 3,513. But state news agency Irna said the number of dead could be higher, citing data from medical universities. The data did not include statistics from the capital Tehran and Gilan province - two of the hardest-hit areas. The toll there was listed as "unknown", Irna said. Authorities have called on Iranians to avoid public places and stay at home, while schools, universities, cultural and sports centers have been temporarily closed across the country. Iran is one of the worst-hit countries outside China, where the Covid-19 virus - which causes the coronavirus disease - originated. Worldwide, authorities have confirmed more than 92,000 cases of the virus, of which more than 80,000 are in China. More than 3,000 people have died globally, the vast majority of them in China.