Iranian deputy health minister tests positive for coronavirus

World Sergey Matyunin 26-Feb-2020
Iraj Harirchi Iran’s deputy health minister has tested positive for coronavirus
ID 163363490 © Andrianocz | Dreamstime.com

Iraj Harirchi, Iran’s deputy health minister, has tested positive for coronavirus and now is under quarantine, Iranian state television reports.

Iran has reported 16 coronavirus deaths, the most outside China, and said on Monday it had 61 confirmed cases and 900 other suspected cased.

On Monday Harirchi denied that the authorities were lying about the scale of the outbreak. According to the BBC, a member of parliament for Qom, the city at the centre of Iran’s virus outbreak, claimed there had been 50 deaths there alone.

Harirchi promised to resign if it was proven that even half the number had died.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani urged people not to panic as the country struggles to contain the outbreak which the World Health Organisation described as “deeply concerning”.

The rapid spread of the virus outside of China has prompted fears that it could become a pandemic. The number of reported cases globally has passed 80,000 and the death toll is now above 2,700.