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Adviser to Iran's supreme leader dies from coronavirus

Mohammad Mirmohammadi is the first senior official to be killed by outbreak as Iran struggles to control its spread
Members of the medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize outdoor place of Imam Reza's holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran (Reuters)

An adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has died after falling ill from the coronavirus, making him the first senior Iranian official to die from the illness.

Mohammad Mirmohammadi died in a Tehran hospital at the age of 71, according to Iranian state radio.

His death comes as the country continues to grapple with the outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. 

Other government ministers who have fallen ill from the coronavirus include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar and Iraj Harirchi, the deputy health minister tasked with managing Iran's response to the outbreak. 

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The country has the largest death toll for the coronavirus outside of China, with 54 deaths and 978 confirmed cases, though there are reports that these figures are much larger. 

Iran also has a higher ratio of deaths to infections when compared to other countries, sparking fears that the number of infections in the country may be higher than current figures show. 

Foreign ministry spokesperson Seyed Abbas Mousavi said on Friday that Iran would receive 20,000 coronavirus test kits from China.

Iranian state media said Khamenei met with top medical officials on Thursday to discuss the situation.

Qom has been the worst hit place in the country and the wider region, with many cases in other countries arising from people travelling from the holy city.

Iranian officials, however, have ruled out following measures taken by other affected countries and quarantining Qom.