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Iranian parliament suspends work over coronavirus fears

According to official data, there are 388 cases of COVID-19 in Iran

TEHRAN, February 28. /TASS/. The Iranian parliament will suspend its hearings next week amid an outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, member of the parliamentary presidium Mohammad Ali Vakili said on Friday.

"The presidium has made the decision not to hold hearings next week due to the risk of the spread of coronavirus," ISNA News Agency quoted him as saying. According to the lawmaker, "consideration of the budget will be postponed, possibly for a week".

On February 19, the Iranian Health Ministry reported first cases of novel coronavirus in the country in the city of Qom. According to official data, there are 388 cases of COVID-19 in Iran, with at least 34 recorded deaths.

On December 31, 2019, Chinese health officials reported a cluster of cases of acute respiratory illness to the World Health Organization in Wuhan, an economic and industrial metropolis with a population of 11 million. The virus - now named COVID-19 (2019-nCoV), otherwise known as the novel coronavirus - was identified on January 7, 2020.

Apart from China, 52 countries, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases. According to the latest data, the overall number of people who contracted the novel coronavirus in China has exceeded 78,800, as many as 2,788 people have died and over 36,100 have recovered.