Iran has confirmed almost 6,000 coronavirus infections and 145 deaths with a second MP reportedly among those to have died in Iran, where health officials fear the number of cases may actually be much higher.
Europe’s worst hit-country Italy also reported a steep rise in cases.
Leading Italian politician Nicola Zingaretti said on Saturday he had tested positive for the virus. “I am fine but I will have to stay home for the next few days the leader of Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party (PD) said in a Facebook post.
The death toll in Italy has passed 200, with officials reporting more than 50 deaths in 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases rose to 5,883 on Saturday, from 4,636.
The country has said it will start recruiting retired doctors in an effort to combat the escalating outbreak.
There have so far been nearly 3,500 coronavirus deaths recorded worldwide. The majority have been in China, where the virus originated in December.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called the spread of the virus “deeply concerning” and urged all countries to make containment “their highest priority”.
Among other countries to report a rise in the total number of cases are: France (to 716); Germany (684); Spain (441); the UK (206); the Netherlands (188).
More than 80,000 people have been infected with coronavirus in China since its emergence in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province. Globally the number of infections stands at more than 100,000.