Khamenei tells Iranians to avoid Ramadan gatherings amid virus

Ramadan is set to start in the last week of April this year.
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Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday appealed forIranians to pray at home during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan to helpstop the spread of the coronavirus.

Iran has reported more than 4,100 deaths and 66,000 infectionsfrom the novel coronavirus, making the country's COVID-19 outbreak one of theworst in the world.

Khamenei called on Iranians to avoid mass gatherings, such ascollective prayers, during Ramadan, which starts later this month.

"In the absence of public gatherings during Ramadan, such asprayers, speeches… which we are deprived of this year, we should not neglectworship, invocation and humility in our loneliness," he said in atelevised speech.

"We need to create humility and supplication in our familiesand in our rooms." Iran, which announced its first COVID-19 cases onFebruary 19, is by far the worst hit by the pandemic in the Middle East,according to official tolls. But there has been speculation abroad that thereal number of deaths and infections in the country could be higher.

Ramadan is set to start in the last week of April this year.

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