Iran's coronavirus death toll reaches 14: media

DUBAI: Two more Iranians infected with coronavirus have died, media website Eghtesaonline said on Tuesday, taking to 14 the toll in the Islamic Republic, which has the highest tally of deaths outside China, where the virus emerged late last year.

"Tests showed they had the new coronavirus," the head of the Medical Science University of Saveh said, according to the website. Iran's state TV said a team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) will arrive in the country on Tuesday.

On Monday, the health ministry said 61 people had been infected in Iran and that around 900 other cases were suspected.

Iran has yet to say how many people it has quarantined but the semi-official Mehr news agency said 320 people had been hospitalised in the Shi'ite holy city of Qom, where Tehran confirmed its first two deaths last week.

The outbreak in Iran comes as its clerical rulers face mounting U.S. pressure that has hit the economy hard. Washington exited Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers in 2018 and has reimposed sanctions on the country.

The outbreak threatens to isolate Iran even further, with several countries suspending flights after coronavirus cases in travellers from Iran were confirmed in Canada, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some neighbouring countries have closed their borders. An airport representative said on Tuesday that Dubai International Airport has suspended all flights to and from the Islamic Republic, with the exception of Tehran.

Six Arab countries have reported their first cases of coronavirus, with those infected all having links to Iran. Kuwait said on Tuesday the total number of infected people there had risen to eight. Bahrain said it also had eight cases, four of whom were Saudi nationals and two Bahrainis.

To prevent the spread of the virus, Iranian authorities have ordered the nationwide cancellation of concerts, soccer matches, closures of schools and universities in many provinces as a precaution.