Iran coronavirus deaths top 1,000

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Iran has confirmed 147 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s total death toll to 1,135.

Iran has been the epicenter of the outbreak in the Middle East, as countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait report cases linked to the Iranian city of Qom, which hosts many holy sites.

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi advised people in Iran to stay at home for a two-week period in a bid to stem the spread of the disease.

Iran has canceled Friday prayers for a third week in a row. Many Iranians would have been celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Friday this week.

The country has struggled to slow the rapid spread of the virus, which has infected a number of lawmakers and killed advisers to senior government officials.

Authorities also confirmed an additional 1,192 cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 17,361.