Tehran: Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, has announced that she has tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Ebtekar, the first woman to become a minister since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, joins the deputy health minister, the head of the national security commission and a reformist MP on the list of Iranian authorities who have been infected with the virus, reports Efe news.

She tested positive on Thursday after showing symptoms the previous day during a cabinet meeting, according to state TV.

The politician is one of the most recognisable in the Islamic Republic and previously held the position of environment minister.

In her youth, she was the spokesperson for the group of students that led the siege of the US embassy when 52 members of Washington’s diplomatic corps were taken hostage in Tehran.

Fariba Ebtehaj, the minister’s advisor, said her team had all been screened for the coronavirus and were awaiting results.

Iran has reported 26 deaths from the deadly disease and 245 cases total with a dramatic surge of 106 new infections registered on Thursday, the Health Ministry said.

Tehran authorities have decided to close down schools and universities in the country to curb the spread of the disease.

Friday prayers in the capital have also been cancelled.

Amid the spread of the virus, neighbouring countries have closed their land borders with Iran and most airlines have suspended their flights or imposed restrictions on air travel to the country.

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