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Coronavirus: Iranian MP Fatemeh Rahbar dies of virus as more cases reported

Lawmaker, 55, is one of seven senior Iranian political figures to die from Covid-19 as deaths from virus reach 145
Fatemeh Rahbar was elected as a Tehran MP in last month's elections (Twitter)

A recently elected Iranian member of parliament died on Saturday from the novel coronavirus, state news agency IRNA has reported.

Fatemeh Rahbar, 55, was a conservative MP from the capital Tehran  who was elected in last month's general election.

Her party won the most seats in a vote that was marred by the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic's history.

Iranian media reported on Friday that Rahbar had gone into coma due to the virus. 

Iran is the third most affected country from the virus, also known as Covid 19, with 5,823 cases and 145 deaths reported as of Saturday 11:00 GMT.

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China, the epicentre of the outbreak, has so far reported 80,651 cases, of which 3,070 were fatal.

Coronavirus Middle East table

The number of people infected by the virus globally surpassed 100,000 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials.

Rahbar is among several other senior Iranian officials to succumb to the illness.

She is the second lawmaker killed by the virus in Iran and one of seven politicians and government officials who have died in the outbreak since the country reported its first cases in mid-February.

On Tuesday, the speaker of parliament said that 23 MPs had tested positive for the virus. 

Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was the first senior official to die from the virus on 2 March.

Former deputy foreign minister Hossein Sheikholeslam, who took part in the 1979 US embassy hostage crisis, also died of the coronavirus on Friday. 

Iran has closed schools and universities, suspended major cultural and sporting events and reduced working hours across the country to slow the contagion, which has spread to all of its 31 provinces.

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