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Coronavirus Spreads in Iran

Coronavirus Spreads in Iran

Friday, 21 February, 2020 - 12:15
Iranian couple wearing protective masks to prevent contracting a coronavirus walk at Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran February 20, 2020. WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Nazanin Tabatabaee via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran's health ministry Friday reported two more deaths among 13 new cases of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of deaths to four and infections to 18.


The announcement came as a health ministry official said the virus has spread to several Iranian cities.


"Based on existing reports, the spread of coronavirus started in Qom and with attention to people's travels has now reached several cities in the country including Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities and it's possible that it exists in all cities in Iran," Minou Mohrez said.


"Thirteen new cases have been confirmed," ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said earlier on Twitter. "Unfortunately two of them have lost their lives."


The COVID-19 outbreak first appeared in Iran on Wednesday, when officials said it killed two elderly people in Qom.


The newly reported cases included "seven in Qom, four in Tehran, and two in Gilan,” Jahanpour tweeted.


"Most of the cases are still either Qom residents" or were people who had come from Qom to other provinces "in recent days and weeks", he added.


The official did not say anything about the suspected source of the outbreak.


He added that Iran had so far received from the World Health Organization four shipments of medical kits used to detect COVID-19.


A government official said the first two people who died of the disease had not left Iran.


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