New Delhi: Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency funding to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit the Islamic Republic hard, foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Thursday.

As quoted by Reuters, the IMF managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, has stated that “countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately," Zarif said.

Iran's Central Bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page that "In a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion U.S. dollar from the RFI emergency fund to help our fight against the coronavirus".

Iran is among the worst-affected countries in the world.

The death toll in Iran from the new coronavirus climbed for another consecutive day, killing 62 more people in the last 24 hours as the government on Wednesday announced that the nationwide death toll has risen to 354.

Iran's health ministry said the deaths are among some 9,000 confirmed cases in Iran, where the virus has spread to all of the country's 31 provinces.

In the latest update, Iran's senior vice president and two other Cabinet members have the new coronavirus, a news agency reported.

The news report on Wednesday came amid days of speculation about the health of Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, who has not been seen in images of recent top-level meetings.

The sick officials are Ali Asghar Mounesan, minister of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism, and Reza Rahmani, minister of industry, mines and business.