Iran on Saturday said that 123 more people had died from coronavirus, raising the official death toll to 1,556 in the Islamic republic, one of the world’s worst affected countries.

According to the health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, there are 966 more cases have been confirmed over the past 24 hours and 20,610 people are now known to have been infected in Iran.

On Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani has touted the country’s response to COVID-19 outbreak as more efficient than western countries.

Addressing a cabinet session, Rouhani said that his government has managed to meet the needs of the people, especially for food and sanitary items, in the wake of the outbreak.

On Monday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sent two aid planes carrying medical supplies to Iran which has been severely hit by the coronavirus crisis, despite a fallout between the two countries.

The move came a day after a call between the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Jawad Zarif.

Earlier on Monday, President Rouhani said that the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak in the country had peaked.

Authorities have placed about 56 million people in hard-hit central Hubei under an unprecedented lockdown. Other cities far from the epicentre have restricted the movements of residents, while Beijing ordered people arriving in the capital to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.

Iran has been the worst-hit country in the Middle East by the outbreak of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused alarm as it has crossed global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic.