Authorities in Iran announced the detection of at least 10 new cases of coronavirus and two more deaths, deepening a sense of public unease over the handling of the spread of the disease.
The latest cases appeared to bring the number of cases in Iran to 29 and the number of deaths to six.
News of the latest cases and deaths came from Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur and the governor of Markazi province in central Iran, cited by state TV.
The Health Ministry earlier on Saturday noted a total number of 28 cases and five deaths and the governor announced a death in Markazi province later in the day.
Most of the cases, including eight of the new infections, have been in Qom, a Shi’ite Muslim holy city 120 km (75 miles) south of the capital Tehran.
Schools, universities and seminaries in Qom will be closed on Sunday and Monday in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, the government crisis management headquarters for Qom province announced on Saturday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
The World Health Organization welcomed the reported decline in new Chinese cases, but said it was concerned about the number of new infections elsewhere with no clear link to China such as travel history or contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, as the disease caused by the virus is known.
“Our biggest concern continues to be the potential for COVID-19 to spread in countries with weaker health systems,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
The U.N. agency is calling for $675 million to support most vulnerable countries, he said, adding 13 countries in Africa are seen as a priority because of their links to China.
South Korea has reported more than 120 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 556.
A fourth person has also died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, according to the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.
On Friday, the confirmation of 100 cases had prompted the declaration of a health emergency in Daegu, South Korea’s fourth-largest city.
Some 78,630 people worldwide have been infected with the virus, almost 77,000 of them in China, where it originated in December