Coronavirus Live Updates: Iran’s Deputy Health Minister Tests Positive


An Italian doctor staying at a resort in the Canary Islands was also feared to have the virus. New outbreaks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East are renewing fears of a coming global pandemic.

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Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the government.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Health official leading Iran’s coronavirus task force has tested positive.

• A large hotel in Tenerife, Spain, is on lockdown after a guest tested positive.

• Iraqi lawmakers demand border with Iran be sealed.

• Stocks stabilize one day after an outbreak-fueled slump.

• As infections slow in China, they increase elsewhere around the world.

Health official leading Iran’s coronavirus task force has tested positive.

Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, who has spearheaded the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, has tested positive, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, renewing concerns about the spread of the virus in the country.

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In an interview with the state-run news outlet IRNA, a spokesman for the ministry said that Mr. Harirchi had been experiencing weakness and flu-like symptoms on Monday before holding a news briefing, and tested positive for the virus later in the day. It is unclear how he contracted the virus, but health officials said he had been dealing with some suspected coronavirus patients.

During the briefing, Mr. Harirchi could be seen repeatedly wiping sweat from his brow and shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot. On Tuesday, he posted a video from home detailing his diagnosis and self-quarantine.

The number of coronavirus cases and deaths continued to rise in Iran on Tuesday, according to health officials, days after the country emerged as another focal point of the outbreak.

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Health officials quoted in Iranian state news media confirmed three more deaths in the country, bringing the 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.

With an economy choked by economic sanctions, a restive population that distrusts its government and a secretive leadership, Iran is something of a wild card in the region.

While the numbers of the infected do not look too daunting so far, 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.

Qom, an important religious center, draws more than 22 million visitors every year, according to tourism figures from the country, most of them religious pilgrims. Of those, around 2.5 million come from abroad.

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The updated infection figures came as neighboring nations made further attempts to prevent the spread of the virus over their borders, with some issuing travel restrictions on Tuesday.

The United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, has suspended all flights to Iran.

All passenger and cargo flights to and from Iran will be suspended for a week, with the possibility of an extension, as a precautionary measure, the Emirati state news agency WAM reported, citing the General Civil Aviation Authority.

Bahrain, which confirmed two cases in travelers who had flown from Iran via Dubai, said that it had suspended all its flights from Dubai International Airport and from Sharjah International Airport, also in the United Arab Emirates, for two days.



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