World Iran reports two suspected coronavirus deaths

20:50  19 february  2020
20:50  19 february  2020 Source:   bbc.com

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Iran's health ministry says two people have died after preliminary tests came back as positive for the new coronavirus disease, Covid-19.

a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Qom is the location of the shrine of Hazrate Masoumeh, a revered female saint in Shia Islam© Reuters Qom is the location of the shrine of Hazrate Masoumeh, a revered female saint in Shia Islam

Spokesman Kianush Jahanpour tweeted that they died due to their "old age and deficient immune systems" while being treated in hospital in Qom.

Deputy Health Minister Qasem Janbabaei told the Young Journalists' Club (YJC) that they were both Iranian nationals.

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They were the first two suspected cases of Covid-19 to be announced in Iran.

Mr Janbabaei was quoted by the YJC as saying that "for the time being we have no reports at all" of cases outside Qom.

BBC Persian understands that 25 people are being quarantined in the same hospital on suspicion that they might have Covid-19.

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Elsewhere in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has confirmed nine cases - all involving Chinese citizens - but so far no deaths.

In Egypt, a foreign national previously confirmed to have Covid-19 was recovering after the latest tests showed he was no longer carrying the virus, the World Health Organization said. He will remain in quarantine until the full 14-day period is over.

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Earlier on Tuesday, the WHO said there had been 75,197 reported cases of Covid-19 and 2009 related deaths. All but 918 of the cases and three of the deaths had been reported in China.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference that the data from China appeared to show a decline in new cases.

"Outside China, we have seen a steady drip of new cases, but we have not yet seen sustained local transmission, except in specific circumstances like the Diamond Princess cruise ship," he added.

At least 542 passengers and crew on the ship, which is quarantined in Japan, have so far been infected with the Covid-19 virus. The ship was carrying 3,700 people in total.

Coronavirus: two new deaths in Iran, concern is growing in the region .
© REUTERS / Alaa al-Marjani A member of the medical staff takes the temperature of the passengers upon their arrival at Nadjaf airport, in Iraq, on the 21st February 2020. The Iranian authorities announced this Friday, February 20, that two new people infected with the coronavirus have died in the country. Concern spreads to neighboring countries.

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