Iran’s government confirmed that 61 people have contracted coronavirus in the country, of which 12 have died, denying the claim by a Qom lawmaker of a death toll of 50. The official figures are no less grave, indicating a death toll of nearly 20pc, since the outbreak, which is a higher ratio even than China and South Korea. Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman announced their first cases, all of whom had links with Iran. Neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan earlier closed their borders with the Islamic Republic. Lebanon’s first COVID-19 victim was a woman who had just returned from Qom.