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Iran Press TV

Iran forms task force to fight coronavirus after two deaths reported in central city

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 20 February 2020 2:23 PM

The spokesman for the Iranian administration says the country has formed a special task force to battle coronavirus, which emerged in China late last year and has claimed two lives in the Islamic Republic so far.

Ali Rabiei announced the formation of the team on Twitter on Thursday, saying it is tasked with taking necessary preventative measures and confronting further spread of the virus.

He said the unit was set up on President Hassan Rouhani's order in the presence of the country's ministers of health; cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism; as well as roads and urban development in addition to the representative of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

"The administration will take all the necessary measures while exercising utmost sensitivity and using entire strength," the official stated, calling on the people to heed safety and hygiene advisories issued by the health ministry.

The administration began discussing the matter during several sessions right after the virus outbreak in China, ordering contingency measures on the country's borders, he said, noting that the health ministry too began closely monitoring the issue and taking the required precautions.

On Wednesday, health authorities in the central Iranian city of Qom confirmed two deaths as a result of coronavirus infection. The victims were described as two elderly men, one of whom had been suffering from chemical weapons' injuries he had sustained during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

It is not clear yet how the duo contracted the virus, but Deputy Health Minister Qassem Janbabaei has visited the city to supervise the preparations that are required for confronting a potential spread.

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

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

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

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