Iran’s deputy health minister says he contracted the Coronavirus

epa08246723 A handout photo made available by the Iranian presidential office shows deputy of Iranian health minister Iraj Harirchi (L) standing next to the Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabie (R) during a presser in Tehran, Iran, 24 February 2020 (issued 25 February). Media reported that Harirchi was diagnosed by coronavirus on 25 February. According to the Ministry of Health, 95 people were diagnosed with coronavirus in the country and fifteen people have died in Iran. The disease caused by the virus (SARS-CoV-2) has been officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). EPA-EFE/PRESIDENT OFFICE HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

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Iran’s deputy health minister said he has contracted the coronavirus and placed himself in isolation, a day after appearing feverish at a press conference in which he downplayed its spread in the shrine city of Qom and said mass quarantines were unnecessary.

Iraj Harirchi posted a video on social media on Tuesday acknowledging he had caught the virus, which appears to be taking rapid hold in parts of Iran. The news has underscored widespread fears that the outbreak may have passed a tipping point, before authorities had been able to gauge its full extent.

Images of one of the country’s most senior public health officials appearing sweaty and pale and acknowledging he had contracted the disease left many Iranians deeply troubled and are likely to further paralyse a county reeling from its rapid onset. In the short video, Hirachi acknowledged that “many may get infected” echoing concerns that have taken root in the rest of the Middle East, which is home to millions of people living in densely packed refugee camps.

Meanwhile Iranian News Agency said that Iran’s Minister of Defense Brigadier-General Ali Hatami in a decree on Tuesday assigned different industries affiliated to Defense Ministry to mass produce hygienic gels and standard sanitary masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country. Hatami called for production and supply of at least 20,000 liters of hygienic gels per day and providing the market and health centers with the required face masks to prevent outbreak of coronavirus in Iran.   As coronavirus is quickly spreading across different world countries, Iran currently has the second biggest death toll in the world after China.

The virus has affected some 61 people in Iran, killing 12 so far, official reports say.  

Via The Guardian 

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