France, Germany, UK offer Iran €5m in aid to combat coronavirus

Iranians scramble to buy protective masks and sanitisers in Tehran.
Iranians scramble to buy protective masks and sanitisers in Tehran. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS

France, Germany and Britain are to give Iran five million euros in aid to help fight the coronavirus outbreak as well as sending emergency equipment to the country with the highest number of deaths outside China.


The World Health Organization on Monday sent its first planeload of assistance to help fight coronavirus in Iran as the death toll rose by 12 to 66. 

Iran's confirmed cases leapt by 523 from the previous day to 1,501, said Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi.

"France, Germany and the United Kingdom express their full solidarity with all impacted by Covid-19 in Iran," the three countries said in a joint statement, adding that material including laboratory test equipment and protective body suits and gloves would be sent by plane later Monday.

China has sent personnel to help stem the spread of the virus. The Foreign Ministry said an expert team from the Chinese Red Cross arrived Saturday in Tehran "to provide what assistance it can in terms of epidemic prevention and control and medical relief".

The WHO's first aid package includes six medics with tonnes of medical equipment and test kits aboard a UAE military aircraft.

US President Donald Trump has also offered Washington's help: "If we can help the Iranians with this problem, we are certainly willing to do so... All they have to do is ask."

However, Tehran rejected the offer from Trump -- who has heaped sanctions and a campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran -- charging he had made it "for propaganda purposes".

Regional countries are especially worried about Iran's coronavirus outbreak.

In the Gulf region, some 129 cases have been confirmed across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar -- many of them pilgrims returning from Iran, especially the Shiite holy city of Qom.

Saudi Arabia also announced on Monday evening its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. 

(with AFP)

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