Nearly 10% of Iranian lawmakers have been infected with the coronavirus, Iranian state media reported Tuesday.
Following the death of Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday, Iran’s political leadership is faced with the spread of the virus among the government. The virus has also killed Iran’s former ambassador to the Vatican and a recently elected member of parliament, USA Today reported.
The virus has infected 23 members of Iran’s parliament according to Iranian state media, including the head of the country’s health ministry, who appeared visibly ill during a news briefing on Feb. 24 and was later confirmed to have been infected. (RELATED: Adviser To Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Dies From The Coronavirus)
The coronavirus has killed 77 people in Iran and sickened 2,300 others, claiming the most lives outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak. “These people have a close relationship with the people and they carry different viruses from different parts of the country, which may create a new virus, so we recommend the lawmakers to cut off their relationship with the public for now,” Abdolreza Mesri, an Iranian lawmaker, said according to the New York Post.
Several of Iran’s neighboring countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, have closed their borders with Iran in an effort to stave off the virus. Bahrain has gone as far as threatening legal prosecution against travelers who enter the country from Iran and haven’t been tested for the coronavirus after Bahrain’s cases of coronavirus were all linked back to Iran, ABC News reported.