Iran’s coronavirus epidemic Monday killed a clerical body member who appoints the supreme leader, state media announced, bringing the death toll between servants and ex-officials to at least 12.
State news agency IRNA announced that Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, who was 78, died two days after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus and was hospitalized.
The official represented Tehran at the Assembly of Experts, an 88-strong body of clerics who nominate and oversee the supreme leader of Iran.
At least 12 senior and former Iranian leaders and officials have now died of the disease, and 13 more have been diagnosed and are either in quarantine or being treated.
The nation has been struggling to control the rapid spread of coronavirus that has, according to official estimates, infected 13,938 people so far and killed at least 724.
The number of deaths and infections from coronavirus has been rising since the first two deaths were announced on 19 February.
The growing trend is attributed to the increasing number of tests carried out, according to the health ministry.
This says several patients started showing signs days after being infected. Official tolls, issued every 24 hours, have typically lagged behind local media coverage, and were often disputed by provincial authorities.
Iran has yet to enforce a lockout but it has briefly closed the parliament, blocked tourists from gathering at a sacred tomb and postponed the second round of legislative elections.
Officials have consistently encouraged people to adhere to instructions and remain home to avoid the spread of coronavirus.