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Coronavirus: Iranian official says one person dies 'every ten minutes' in the country

A health ministry spokesperson said 50 people are infected in Iran every hour
Iran is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 18,407 confirmed cases for COVID-19 (AFP)

Iran's health ministry said on Thursday that a person dies every ten minutes from the new coronavirus in the country, as the death toll continues to rise. 

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Kianush Jahanpur, the Iranian health ministry's spokesperson, said at least 1,284 had died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak. 

"Based on our information, every 10 minutes one person dies from the coronavirus and some 50 people become infected with the virus every hour in Iran," Jahanpur tweeted. 

Earlier on Thursday, Iranian deputy health minister Alireza Raisi told state TV that health officials had recorded an additional 1,046 new cases in the last 24 hours.

There have been 149 deaths within the same period, a new daily record.

Iran is one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 18,407 confirmed cases for COVID-19. 

The country's death toll this week surpassed 1,000 people, as government officials launched an urgent appeal for life-saving medicines and equipment. 

Meanwhile, the administration of US President Donald Trump decided to issue sanctions against nine entities related to Iran's transport of petrochemical products this week - a decision which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said was aimed at "depriving the regime of critical income from its petrochemical industry and furthering Iran's economic and diplomatic isolation".

US Senator Bernie Sanders on Wednesday condemned the decision just as Tehran is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic amid an already weak economic situation.