#COVID19: Iran's vice president infected by coronavirus

Iranian vice president for Women and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The vice president is also known as the English-language spokeswoman for the 1979 hostage-takers who seized the US embassy in Tehran and sparked the 444-day diplomatic crisis.

Ebtekar, a former spokeswoman for students who took 52 Americans hostage at the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, is being treated at home and members of her team have been tested, state news agency IRNA reported. According to AFP

On Tuesday, Iranian officials confirmed that Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi had been infected and was under quarantine.

Another Iranian official Mojtaba Zonnour, head of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations Commission says he is infected with COVID-19.

Zonnour, who is also a deputy from the country's virus-hit Qom city, said in a video message that he is currently in quarantine.

The cleric is a deputy for the Shiite holy city of Qom in central Iran where the country’s first cases were detected.

According to media reports, among the deceased in Qom on Thursday was theologian Hadi Khroroshahi, who in 1981 was named Iran’s first ambassador to the Vatican.

Iran cancels Fridays sermons

Iran has cancelled Friday prayers in the capital, Tehran, and elsewhere in the country. The move came in response to a drastic jump in the number of confirmed cases from 100 to 245, with 26 deaths.

Iran also banned Chinese citizens from entering the country.

Reacting , the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said "I would like to appreciate the respectable brothers & sisters, physicians, nurses & medical staff for confronting & combating the recent disease, which has come into the country.I would also like to thank the colleagues of the Minister of Health for their efforts. #Coronavirus"

"We are hopeful this great and demanding work will not take very long, and that this inauspicious #CoronaVirus will soon be overcome by God’s grace. God willing, you will all be successful. May God’s peace and mercy be upon you."

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