Iran has put in place a set of contingency plans, including the temporary shutdown of schools, universities and cultural centers, in an effort to curb a coronavirus outbreak that has already claimed eight lives in the country, Press TV reported.
The Health Ministry on Sunday raised the death toll from the virus to eight and the number of people who had tested positive for coronavirus to 43.
The ministry's spokesman Kianush Jahanpour said that 15 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours, three of whom lost their lives.
The epicenter of the outbreak is the central city of Qom.
As a preventive measure, Iranian authorities have ordered a week-long closure of educational and cultural institutions across 14 provinces as of Sunday.
These provinces include Qom, Markazi, Gilan, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Qazvin, Zanjan, Mazandaran, Golestan, Hamadan, Alborz, Semnan, Kordestan and the capital city, Tehran.
Spokesman for Tehran's Department of Education, Masoud Saghafi, said the decision was made to "prepare schools" which have to be disinfected and sanitized.