Iran said Wednesday that the new coronavirus killed 63 more people, raising the death toll to 354 amid over 9,000 cases in the Islamic Republic.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour made the announcement in a televised news conference.

Across the Mideast, the vast majority of the 9,000 people who have contracted the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes are in hard-hit Iran. It has one of the world’s worst death tolls outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside the Islamic Republic, only Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon have recorded deaths from the virus in the Mideast.

In the Gulf Arab island nation of Bahrain, authorities say their number of confirmed cases on Wednesday spiked by nearly 70 per cent to 189 confirmed cases. The new cases were all on a returning flight of Bahraini evacuees from Iran.

Officials found 77 on board tested positive for the new coronavirus, compared to the 112 already reported in the country off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It pushed Bahrain’s overall total to 189 confirmed cases.

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