Tehran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made an “urgent” appeal for help from the international community as Iran grapples with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Zarif took to Twitter to ask all countries for medical equipment to help Iran combat the virus that has so far claimed 429 lives there as it struggles economically and is reeling from U.S. sanctions.
Iranian care personnel are bravely struggling on the frontlines to fight the virus known as COVID-19, he said.
“Their efforts are stymied by vast shortages caused by restrictions on our people's access to medicine/equipment,” he said. “Viruses don't discriminate. Nor should humankind.”
He shared a list of the most urgent requirements that was prepared by the health ministry, including protective masks, gloves, coronavirus diagnostic test kits and ventilators.
An official with Iran’s Association of Medical Equipment Importers acknowledged in late February that U.S. sanctions and restrictions imposed on Iran by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force have made it difficult for health officials to procure anti-coronavirus kits.
Iran is one of the worst-hit countries from coronavirus with the death toll continuing to climb.
Authorities said 75 people died in the last 24 hours, with confirmed cases rising to more than 10,000, state TV quoted Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
The global death toll from the virus has surpassed 4,600, with more than 124,500 confirmed cases, according to the WHO.
It originated in the central city of Wuhan China last December and has spread to 114 countries.
As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, many governments closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries.
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