Adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader dies after contracting coronavirus

Adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader dies after contracting coronavirus

CNN’s Ivan Watson reports from Goyang, South Korea, where authorities are trying out a new method to test for the novel coronavirus. South Korea has over 4,200 cases, with 26 deaths.

An adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, state radio said on Monday.

Mohammad Mirmohammadi, 71, was a member of the Expediency Council that advises Khamenei. He is the latest in a string of Iranian officials to have died after contracting the virus.

The virus started spreading through Iran last week, and by Monday, 66 people were dead and 1,501 cases were confirmed, deputy health minister Alireza Raisi said on state TV. Raisi added that 291 people had recovered.

Iran has the most coronavirus cases in the Middle East, the most deaths outside of China — where the virus originated — and is in an ongoing state of economic crisis. US sanctions on the country have seen its currency tank and unemployment grow.

Iran’s parliament has been suspended until further notice amid the outbreak, and universities and schools nationwide have been closed, according to state media. All public gatherings, including Friday prayers, have been canceled to help curb the spread of the disease, the IRNA state news agency reported.