Iran Reports More Coronavirus Deaths
February 22, 2020
Iranian health officials have confirmed the fifth and sixth deaths from the coronavirus in the country.
The country's fifth fatality came from among 10 new confirmed cases of the virus, officials reported on February 22. The sixth fatality was a patient who died in the central city of Arak.
It was not clear exactly when the two deaths occurred.
Iran has reported more fatalities from COVID-19 than any other country besides China.
Two people had died earlier on February 21 from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Two other deaths were reported earlier in the week.
Jahanpour said that, of the 10 newly detected cases, two were in the capital, Tehran, and eight were in the holy city of Qom, located some 120 kilometers south of the capital.
Two elderly patients died from the virus in Qom on February 19.
Jahanpour said the two patients in the capital had visited Qom or had links with the city.
Health officials said all religious gatherings in Qom had been suspended.
Minoo Mohraz, an Iranian Health Ministry official, had said on February 21 that the virus "possibly came from Chinese workers who work in Qom and traveled to China." She did not elaborate.
A Chinese company has been building a solar power plant in Qom.
Cases have been reported in the provinces of Tehran, Gilan, Markazi, Qom, and Hamadan.
Ali Atta, a spokesman for the Tehran City Council, said authorities were distributing free masks at bus and metro stations.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia announced that citizens and residents of the kingdom are not permitted to travel to Iran following the spread of the virus there. Anyone previously in Iran will only be permitted entry to the country after the 14-day incubation period of the virus has passed.
Earlier in the week, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia suspended most flights to Iran.
In China, where the virus emerged, more than 2,300 people have died of the illness. Another large cluster has been detected in South Korea, which reported 142 additional confirmed cases for February 21, bringing the nation's total to 346.
In Italy, a 78-year-old man died of the coronavirus, becoming the first European fatality for the disease.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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