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Iran Press TV

Two old men die in Iran after testing positive for coronavirus

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 19 February 2020 1:34 PM

Health authorities in the central Iranian city of Qom have confirmed two deaths as a result of a first incidence of coronavirus in the country.

A source close to the Iranian health minister told Mehr news agency on Wednesday that the two old men had died in hospital in Qom after being tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the day.

Alireza Wahhabzadeh said one of the two had been suffering from chemical weapons injuries suffered during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. He described the other victim as a 65-old man, without elaborating.

The news of the deaths came hours after authorities confirmed first two cases for coronavirus in Iran.

That caused an Iranian deputy health minister to visit Qom on Wednesday to supervise preparations for confronting a potential spread of the disease.

Qassem Janbabaei said the two men were from two separate neighborhoods of Qom, a city of close to one million people, adding that they had never been out of the province let alone to any foreign country.

"How they contracted coronavirus is not clear and the issue is being probed," said the official in an interview with the IRNA news agency.

Janbabaei said a hospital in Qom had been dedicated to receive people who were suspected of having contracted the disease. The official added that a second hospital in the city was on high alert to respond to any emergency that might arise.

A spokesman of the Iranian health ministry also said that tests on the two men had been carried out by special teams dispatched from the capital Tehran to Qom after reports emerged of a growing number of influenza cases in the city.

Kianoush Jahanpour said that some other people suspected of having the disease had been identified to have the Type B influenza.

The announcement of coronavirus cases come nearly a month after authorities evacuated dozens of Iranian students from the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus began reportedly in an illegal wildlife market.

The 57 students were released from a 14-day quarantine inside a hotel in southwest Tehran on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 people have died and nearly 100,000 people remain affected by coronavirus which is centered in the Chinese province of Hubei.

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