OUTBREAK IN IRAN: “Recipe for a massive viral outbreak … ”
Feb. 26, 2020 |
The New York Times – Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi (pictured above on the left), who has spearheaded the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, has contracted the illness, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, renewing concerns about the spread of the virus in a country that has become a focal point of the epidemic.
In an interview with the state-run news outlet IRNA, a spokesman for the ministry said that Mr. Harirchi had been experiencing weakness and flulike symptoms on Monday before holding a news briefing, and tested positive for the virus later in the day.
During the briefing, Mr. Harirchi could be seen repeatedly wiping sweat from his brow and shifting from foot to foot. On Tuesday, he posted a video from home detailing his diagnosis and self-quarantine.
A prominent member of Parliament, Mahmoud Sadeghi, posted on Twitter that he also had the virus.
Health officials quoted in Iranian state news media confirmed three more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 15. At least 95 people nationwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, most of them in the northern city of Qom, health officials said. Qom is an important religious center that draws millions of visitors annually, many from abroad.
Experts fear that the government may be concealing the true scale of the problem, and may not have the capacity to respond effectively if things begin to spiral out of control.
President Hassan Rouhani, in a televised speech, blamed Iran’s enemies for sowing panic in an attempt to shut down the country.
“This is one of the enemy’s plots to create panic to close down our society,” he said. “No, we all have to work, carry on with our activities and be careful and take the sick to the hospital.”
Iraqi lawmakers demand border with Iran be sealed
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