Published: Thu, February 20, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Two Iranians die after testing positive for coronavirus, says official

Two Iranians die after testing positive for coronavirus, says official

The Iranian city of Qom is shutting down schools and universities following the deaths of two people from the coronavirus, Iran's state-run news agency IRNA reported Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran's health minister, told Sputnik that the exact source of the coronavirus transmission to Qom remains unknown.

"The suspicious cases were isolated according to protocol and medical samples taken".

Earlier in the day, Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for Iran's ministry of health, said the two people had tested positive for the virus in preliminary results and died due to immune deficiencies and old age.

Kiyanoush Jahanpour, a health ministry spokesperson, said both cases were in the city of Qom ad the patients had been put into isolation.

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

Meanwhile, the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Wednesday that there was an unspecified number of other suspected cases now under quarantine. Since then, more than 75,000 people have been infected globally, with more than 2,000 deaths being reported, mostly in China.

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The new virus comes from a large family of coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath.

Jahanpour did not say how many people were suspected of having the virus, which causes the illness recently named COVID-19.

Iranian authorities were now investigating the origin of the disease, and its possible link with religious pilgrims from Pakistan or other countries.

It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.

The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the Middle East to report cases of coronavirus last month.

The case in Egypt was also the first on the African continent.

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