The death toll from the coronavirus in Iran rose to 66 on Monday, including an official on a top council, as a World Health Organization (WHO) team headed to Tehran.
"The definite latest numbers we have are 523 new infections and 12 new deaths so the total number of those infected is 1,501 until now and the number of deaths is 66," Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi announced on state television.
Among the dead was Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a member of the Expediency Council, a body intended to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council, the Tasnim news agency reported. Mirmohammadi is also an aide and a close adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Several top officials have been infected with coronavirus including Masoumeh Ebtekar, the vice president for women and family affairs, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi.
Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said that a closure of Iran's schools which was announced on Saturday because of the outbreak would continue through the end of this week, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Iran has the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, where the outbreak began.
A four-person WHO team is expected to arrive in Iran on Monday evening, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said in Geneva, and will review measures to deal with the outbreak and provide technical guidance.
During a week-long visit, the team will meet health ministry representatives and visit health facilities and laboratories dealing with the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Several countries in the region have reported coronavirus infections in people who have visited Iran. These include Kuwait, whose health ministry on Monday reported 10 new cases in the last 24 hours, all of whom had been in Iran. The Gulf Arab state has now reported 56 cases of the virus.
The United Arab Emirates sent a shipment of medical supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, to Iran on Monday, state news agency WAM reported.