Denmark Confirms First Death from Coronavirus Days After Going on Lockdown as Iran’s Death Toll Rises to 611 and Pandemic Starts to Spread in Africa

Denmark has confirmed an 81-year-old man is its first coronavirus victim days after going into lockdown.

He died at a city hospital in Copenhagen, the press authorities said today, as the country announced the number of cases had risen above 1,500.

Iran’s death toll also rose to 611 today after the virus claimed 97 more victims and the case numbers surged by 1,365 to 12,729.

The Islamic Republic’s president Hassan Rouhani has accused the US of ‘severely hampering’ his country’s response through its sanctions.

It comes as the pandemic began to spread to Africa, with Guinea, Mauritania and Rwanda suffering their first patients.

Rouhani asked the International Monetary Fund for $5billion in emergency funding on Thursday as businesses are hit by an economic slowdown. Exports have also sharply declined as neighbouring countries have shut their borders.

Health workers have been pictured spraying disinfectant on the streets of Tehran, the capital, Tabriz, and other major cities as many choose to stay at home.

Coronavirus screening stations are also expected to be set up outside many cities in the coming days.

The Iranian health minister, Kianoush Jahanpour, confirmed the rise. He said that 4,300 of those infected had recovered.

Iran’s capital province of Tehran had the highest number of new cases with 347, followed by Isfahan with 155 and the northern region of Alborz with 134.

‘Naturally, the number of confirmed cases will increase’ even more as Iran steps up its laboratory sampling and tests, Jahanpour said.

The outbreak in Iran is one of the deadliest outside of China, where the disease originated.

But Tehran’s markets were still crowded despite calls for people to stay at home, with many shopping ahead of the country’s New Year holidays which start on March 20.

The ministry said Friday the average age of those who died was 67. The youngest was a three-year-old leukaemia sufferer and the oldest 91.

Four times as many men as women died from the coronavirus. But in some of Iran’s provinces alcohol poisoning was killing even more people than the virus.

At least 92 have died from drinking methanol after rumours circulated that it can help to cure or protect from the virus, and the number has been on the rise for the past few days.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa also dramatically rose today, up to 38 from 24 a day earlier, the Health Ministry said, as the government weighs new measures to contain the outbreak.

Seven of the new cases were registered in the country’s economic heartland, Gauteng province, six in the tourism hotspot of Western Cape and one in KwaZulu-Natal province, a ministry statement said.

All 14 of those infected had travelled abroad to countries including the United States, Britain, France and Italy – the worst-affected European nation.

South Africa, Africa’s most-advanced economy, first detected the virus on March 5 and the jump in its positive test results comes as the outbreak spreads across the continent with Kenya, Ethiopia and Namibia reporting their first confirmed cases.

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SOURCE: Daily Mail, James Gant and Luke Andrews