Iran continues to grapple with a significant outbreak, which the country’s health ministry says has infected more than 90 people and killed 15.
One lawmaker in the city of Qom, the epicenter of the Iranian outbreak, said the death toll may be as high as 50, but the health ministry has denied his claims.
Health official infected: Among the confirmed cases is Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi
Harirchi appeared on television sweaty and ill to warn Iranians of coronavirus Monday, only to test positive for the virus on Tuesday.
In a news conference on national television, Harirchi coughed and wiped sweat from his face using tissues on several occasions. He was later diagnosed with coronavirus, according to state media.
Travel restrictions: Across the Middle East, flights from Iran have been halted and borders with the country have been closed as the region tries to keep the spread of the deadly virus at bay. Several countries have also issued travel bans for the country.
The heavy economic sanctions imposed against Iran by the United States and other bodies have made tackling the disease harder, with the country struggling to access novel coronavirus test kits, a board member of Iran’s Association of Medical Equipment Importers told the semi-official news agency ILNA on Sunday.