Earlier, several Iranian officials fell ill with coronavirus as Iran has become the epicentre of the outbreak in the Middle East.

Seyed Mohammad Mir-Mohammadi, a member of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, died of the Wuhan coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, on Monday, according to Tasnim news agency.

His death comes as other top Iranian officials have contracted the virus; the country has the highest death toll in the world after China.

Seyed Mohammad Mir-Mohammadi was 71.

Iran, along with Italy, has just recently become a new coronavirus hotbed outside of China. The number of people infected with COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic is approaching 600. Over 40 people have died from the coronavirus disease in Iran.

The novel coronavirus was first detected in China in late December and has since spread to more than 50 countries, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a global health emergency. So far, the virus infected more than 79,000 people in mainland China, while over 2,800 people died and nearly 40,000 have recovered. According to the latest WHO data, the number of those infected outside China has reached 4,691, while 67 people have died.