Iranians die after testing positive for coronavirus

Clay Curtis
February 20, 2020

Iranian authorities confirmed on Wednesday two cases of the new coronavirus, the first in the country, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported, saying also that there was an unspecified number of other suspected cases and that those individuals have been quarantined.

"Two Iranians, who tested positive earlier today for new coronavirus, died of respiratory illness", the official told Mehr.

"As we had promised to announce any confirmed cases, a few minutes ago the health minister confirmed the two cases of the new coronavirus in the city of Qom", said a government spokesman.

"Two elderly people have died due to coronavirus in the city of Qom, south of Tehran", Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran's health minister, told Al Jazeera on Wednesday. Several countries, including the U.S. and United Kingdom, have evacuated their citizens from Hubei, the province worst affected.

Reuters quoted a statement from the Iranian health ministry that the two patients have been placed in isolation.

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The Associated Press quoted a Wednesday report from the "semiofficial ISNA news agency" in which a Health Ministry official said, "some suspected cases of the new coronavirus" have been found. Since then, more than 75,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.

COVID-19, as the virus is officially known, was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December.

First detected in China, the virus is believed to have originated in a type of wild animal sold at a Chinese market to be consumed as food. It did not specify the person's nationality or what port of entry he or she arrived at in Egypt.

At least the virus has killed 2012 persons from affected countries including China where it first broke out.

"Both of the people who had tested positive for coronavirus were in Qom and were old".

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