Iranian nuclear chief tests Covid-19

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Tehran (AFP)

Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, state media reported on Sunday, as the country announced a new record for daily deaths.

Salehi, vice president and head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, had been in quarantine and had been resting at his home since the October 3 test, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Another vice president, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, said on Twitter on Saturday that he was “under medical observation” after contracting the virus last week.

IRNA said on Sunday that Salehi and Nobakht were in “good” health.

Deaths and infections from the virus have been on a steep rise in Iran since early September.

The health ministry said an additional 251 people had died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, another single-day record in the Islamic Republic.

The total number of viral infections since Iran reported its first cases in February crossed the 500,000 mark on Sunday, with 3,822 new confirmed cases.

Overall, Covid-19 has killed 28,544 people and infected 500,075 people in the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the pandemic.

Iran on Saturday began imposing fines for the first time for violations of health regulations in the capital as part of efforts to contain the virus.

Penalized offenses include refusing to quarantine when ill and not wearing a mask in public space. Companies can also be fined for failing to ensure customers wear masks.

The measures could potentially be extended to other cities in the country if necessary, according to President Hassan Rouhani.

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