Iran’s deputy health minister has contracted the new coronavirus, a ministry official said on Tuesday, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic.
“Mr Harirchi, the deputy health minister of Iran coronavirus test was positive, he was on the front lines combating coronavirus,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, a media adviser to the health minister, revealed in a tweet.
Iraj Harirchi was coughing continuously and seemed to be sweating during a news conference with government spokesman Ali Rabiei on Monday.
Harirchi denied a lawmaker’s claim at the conference that fifty people have died from the virus within the Shiite shrine city of Qom, adding that he would “resign” if the amount proves true.
About three more deaths cases and 34 new infections on Tuesday was confirmed in Iran increasing the overall death toll to 15 and infection tally to 95.
The Islamic republic Iran has the highest hit by the coronavirus outbreak by far outside China.
The health ministry, said that most of the deaths and infections outside Qom are from persons who newly visited the holy city.
Sixteen of the new cases were confirmed in Qom, while 9 were in Tehran, and 2 each in Alborz, Gilan and Mazandaran, the ministry’s spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour revealed.
The virus appeared to be spreading to new parts of Iran, as a new case was reported in each of the provinces of Fars, Khorasan Razavi, and Qeshm island.
Qom despite being Iran’s epicentre of the outbreak, is yet to be quarantined.